After compiling a list of the most essential LGBT movies, The Advocate is pitting the top 32 entries against one another in a series of one-on-one face-offs. In this round, the game-changing film Boys Don't Cry, which made a star of Hilary Swank for her performance as a trans young man, is up against Auntie Mame, the classic comedy about a fabulous aunt played by Rosalind Russell. Which film is more essential? Vote below, and check out our full list of the top 175 most essential LGBT movies at Advocate.com/top175.
Boys Don't Cry, 1999 (9 seed)
It's easy to dismiss this as an "important" film, but Boys Don't Cry, based on the true story of the murder of Brandon Teena, a young trans man killed in Nebraska, is actually an incredibly good one as well. For a film that ends in such an atrocity, it has a breezy romanticism as we meet the flirty Brandon (played by Hilary Swank, in a role that won her an Oscar and made her career) and weary Lana, the girl he falls in love with. Brandon knows little of other trans people, of hormones or gender identity or even the kind of (sadly still limited, but at least talked about) rights trans people have today. But he's young and in love and troubled, because of having no social safety net, living in an impoverished community, and hiding his birth-gender assignment (and in the film, the lack of medical hormones is the linchpin that eventually leads to his death). Watch it with a big box of Kleenex and a sense of injustice. --Diane Anderson-Minshall
Auntie Mame, 1958 (24 seed)
Rosalind Russell as everybody's favorite naughty aunt. Little orphaned Patrick Dennis comes to live with his drinky, amorous, wealthy Auntie Mame. LGBT subjects are alluded to coyly -- it was 1958, after all -- but the core of the story is about conservatives objecting to Auntie Mame's "lifestyle." It's visually splendid, packed with great character performances, but you may want to strangle little Patrick by the second act. "Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!" Be warned: The 1974 musical version Mame, starring Lucille Ball, is a sad disaster. --Christopher Harrity
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