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Transamerica Review

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Pre-op transsexual Bree (Huffman) is on the brink of surgery when she finds out she has a hustler son (Zegers) she’s never met. She travels cross-country to New York to bail him out of jail, and then they begin a long journey back to Los Angeles, with Bre

★★★★★

It’s easy to forget that, before she was a high-heeled and highlighted Desperate Housewife, Felicity Huffman had established herself as a respected indie actress. So it’s not as much of a surprise to see her in a mildly grungy film playing a dowdy pre-op transsexual as it would be if it were, say, Eva Longoria dangling a prosthetic penis.

Initially Huffman’s appearance is off-putting. Ears pushed out, face drooping towards her shoes, she resembles nothing so much as Stan Laurel attempting to blend in with the Women’s Institute.

But so convincing is she that her appearance is soon secondary to a heartfelt performance told through awkward silence and frightened eyes that rightly won her a Golden Globe, and a place in 2006's Oscar final five.

Sadly the film around her is not quite as strong, taking very few unexpected turns and never entirely deciding on whether it wants to be a serious account of coming to terms with deeply felt insecurities or a slightly knockabout buddy-buddy comedy. On the occasions that the two elements gel, it succeeds in being both moving and funny, but its sense of confusion, while certainly fitting, will hamper its receiving much adulation beyond that directed at Huffman.

Despite its seemingly subversive plot, this is actually a very middle-of-the-road movie, worth seeing chiefly for an award-worthy performance.

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