I’m participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge by watching and reviewing some of my favorite movies of all time that I haven’t watched in a long time. This post contains SPOILERS!
Title: The Crying Game
Release Date: October 30, 1992
Director: Neil Jordan
Production Company: Palace Pictures | Channel Four Films | British Screen
A British soldier, Jody (Forest Whitaker), on duty in Northern Ireland during The Trouble is abducted and held hostage by the Provisional IRA. An IRA member, Fergus (Stephen Rea), stands guard over Jody over several days and the two men bond. Jody is accidentally killed when the British military carries out an assault on the IRA safe-house. Seeking to lie low for a while, Fergus flees to London and takes on a job in construction under an alias.
Jody told Fergus about his lover, Dil (Jaye Davidson), so Fergus tracks her down. Initially Fergus wants to make sure Dil is okay as a debt to Jody, but he soon falls in love with her. In a moment that was heralded as the BIG TWIST at the time of release, Fergus discovers that Dil is transgender as they are about to have sex. After his initial revulsion, Fergus continues to be drawn to Dil.
Unfortunately, Fergus’ former IRA accomplices find him and inform him he’s been tried in abstentia for his failing to execute Jody and the fleeing. He’s able to atone for this if he carries out a risky assassination of a British judge. Dil’s life is put at risk is Fergus fails to come through on the assassination. Fergus is left with some difficult choices in a final act that depicts some touching moments of love and sacrifice.
When Did I First See This Movie?:
Like good Irish Americans, my mother, sister, and I went to see this at the theater as a family because it was a big deal movie about The Troubles.
What Did I Remember?:
The broad strokes of the movie stuck with me if not the details.
Also, I have to brag here, but Jim Broadbent is one of those actors who is in like every British movie ever and I never remember who he is, but for the first time ever I recognized him right away as the charming bartender, Col.
What Did I Forget?:
Jody is rather obnoxious in the first few scenes we see him in before he and Fergus begin to bond and the characters soften.
What Makes This Movie Great?:
At the time of release, people talked about the movie as if “THE BIG TWIST” was the main point. I never thought that then, and 28 years later, I think the movie’s real intent to tell a story of love, sacrifice, and a kind heart in troubled times perseveres. It also has an excellent soundtrack, from Percy Sledge to Boy George to Lyle Lovett, the perfectly compliments the storyline.
What Doesn’t Hold Up?:
Awareness and understanding of transgender people in popular media has improved in leaps and bounds in recent years (albeit with more improvement necessary) so the depiction of Dil feels a bit clunky, and overall her character seems to lack some agency.
Is It a Classic?:
5 more all-time favorite movies starting with C:
- Casablanca (1942)
- Cinema Paradiso (1988)
- Citizen Kane (1941)
- The City of Lost Children (1995)
- Clueless (1995)
What is your all-time favorite movie starting with C? What do you guess will be my movie for D? Let me know in the comments!