How Felicity Huffman missed out on an Oscar for her role in Transamerica is a mystery to me. Maybe I can solve the mystery after watching Helen Mirren, who won the Oscar, in The Queen. First things first though.
In Transamerica, Felicity Huffman (of Sports Night fame before Desperate Housewives fame) plays Sabrina “Bree” Osbourne, a transsexual on the brink of an operation that will make her a woman. A phone call from a Toby Wilkins (played Kevin Zegers) who asks for Stanley Schupak (Bree’s former name) claiming to be his son, throws things out of whack.
Bree travels from LA to New York to bail her son out of jail and as a favour decides to drive him to LA, so he can pursue his acting career. She pretends to be a Christian missionary and does not tell her son, who she didn’t know she fathered. They drive together from New York to LA, getting to know each other along the way as we discover more about their past lives.
The story is well written and in spite of handling such a sensitive topic, has a lot of humour in it. Felicity Huffman is brilliant in her portrayal of a transgendered person and Zegers does a good job of playing her son–they’re well-supported by the rest of the cast. The movie works because we get to see the humanity of the characters and the challenges they struggle to overcome. Transamerica is a beautiful movie about going beyond external appearances and seeing the person inside.
Whatever the comparisons, Transamerica is a movie worth watching.