I watched Transamerica tonight (I know, I know I am a bit behind), it was a great movie. I had wanted to see it for a while, but I am a bit conscious of what movies I rent at times here in the South. It was so interesting to see a woman (Felicity Huffman) playing a man playing a woman, essentially. Felicity Huffman was amazing. As I was watching it and even before I started it I intended to post about Transamerica, but when i finished it I found it difficult to post about. I was going to post about how when they showed Felicity Huffman's "penis" and how that is so rare in "R" rated films. You can show female nudity and can get away with it rather easily with an R rating or even a PG or PG-13 rating depending if you show full frontal nudity or just breasts, but then there were scenes with full frontal male nudity, although brief, later in the film so that meant I couldn't make as big a deal about the first shot. So I started thinking, does that mean that the inherent male bias toward female nudity in movies will begin to decrease? Will there be more male nudity without the automatic NC-17 rating? I really don't care if it is male nudity or female nudity (although as a heterosexual male, I do prefer the female nudity), if it is necessary for the film to progress and is not gratuitous then I think we should be able to show it on film. I feel much more strongly that we need to limit violence in films more than sex and nudity. The fact that the MPAA is more likely to rate a film more severely for nudity than violence is just disgusting to me. According to this site, the research on the effects of media violence and children's behavior is mixed with some research showing that it negatively affects children's behavior and some research showing that it does not seem to have that strong an effect on children's behavior. I still would stand by my opinion that in the long run children are more negatively affected by viewing violence in the media than viewing nudity or sex, when the nudity and/or sex is not gratuitous and has relevance to the story being told. There is no time, in my opinion, that violence needs to be shown for a story to be told. I am honestly not trying to be a prude about violence in films, there are many films that I really like that include violence and at times graphic violence such as The Professional or Ronin, but I am an adult and can differentiate between TV and reality, where as children may not be able to make that connection.
Ok, so that was a bit of a tangent, back to Transamerica. I really intended to blog about the positive message in a movie like Transamerica, where the lead character is transsexual and this is not treated as a disease or something is wrong with the character. Although this is very true in this movie, I also felt like that was just part of the character, that the movie was more about the relationship between a parent and child and learning to accept yourself. So I guess that is also very positive, the person's impending sex change operation was not treated as a major character flaw, but a fact of life that some people have to go through to end up feeling comfortable with themselves. It kind of reminds me of another favorite movie I have not seen in a while, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Which is another great film, although this time about transvestites and not transsexuals, but still in both movies the main characters have an "alternative" lifestyle and yet that is just part of the character and not a stereotypical they have problems and so how can they be made normal again.