It's one of the most successful gay themed movies of all time, was nominated for six Oscars (winning one), and its title song was considered to be a comeback hit by former Culture Club lead singer Boy George.
However, based upon the reactions of some of my facebook friends, some folks don't remember The Crying Game (1992).
The Crying Game is a psychological drama which combined the exploits of I.R.A. terrorists with issues of sexuality, love, and redemption to make a movie that arguably still stands up today as one of the best.
Stephen Rea stars as Fergus, an Irish Republican Army terrorist whose group kidnaps a black British soldier (Forrest Whittaker). When the demands of Rea's group aren't met, he is ordered to kill Whittaker.
Rea can't however, because he has already bonded with the soldier. Sensing this, Whittaker tries to escape but is hit by a British armored personal carrier coming to attack Rea's group.
Before he dies, Whittaker talks Rea into looking in on his girlfriend to make sure she is okay.
Rea meets the girlfriend, Dil, and is enraptured by her.
And here is where the movie makes a huge turn.
You see, Dil (played by Jaye Davidson) is a non-op transgender woman. This is revealed to Rea's character AND the audience at the same time (because this was Davidson's first film) during a scene which leaves nothing to subtlety or the imagination.
Rea is at first repulsed, but then continues to be captivated by Dil and continues to see her. He lets it slip that he was involved in the death of Dil's boyfriend. This causes Dil to initiate a chain of events which leads to a bloody confrontation between her, Rea, and Rea's IRA buddies.
The Crying Game used a very clever ad campaign asking audience members who saw the movie to not to reveal it's "secret."
Of course this generated a lot of buzz. But here is the surprise. Even after they knew the "secret," the audiences still came because they were captivated by the excellent story and the characters.
The Crying Game was a massive hit with both audiences and critics. It received six Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director (Neil Jordan), Best Actor (Rea), and Best Supporting Actor (Davidson). It won Best Original Screenplay.
The title song was also a massive hit for Boy George, garnering him a Grammy nomination.
But much of the credit for The Crying Game's success has to belong to Davidson, the emotional center of the movie. As as I said before, this was Davidson's first movie. However you would think that he was an old pro.
He embodies the character of Dil with so much innocence and purity that even after the violent confrontation, which she initiates, plays a huge role during, and decisively brings to a conclusion, you still can't help but to root for her.
There are so many scenes in which Davidson just takes this movie and makes his own. However, the scene which stands out for me has to be when he confronts one of Rea's IRA buddies (played by Miranda Richardson) because Dil knows that she lured Whittaker to his death.
The confrontation is unnervingly violent but still poignant because Dil's words to Richardson during the scene implies that she blames herself for Whittaker's death, perhaps feeling that her supposed "lack of authenticity" as a woman led him to seek someone else.
And even when the violence ends (sorry folks but you know how I am about the need to let gay folks know when movies involving us contain happy endings), Dil still maintains enough innocence to put Rea's character - because both her and him come out alive when it's all over - on the road to redemption.
I will only say that it's a long road but as the movie ends, you get the feeling that they will both make it to the end together.
Davidson, by the way, took the new found success The Crying Game gave him in stride. He secured an agent, got a huge pay day by playing the villain in the science fiction film Stargate, and then returned to the fashion industry where he was originally discovered.
I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that his short sojourn in the cinema made it a much better place.
Go see The Crying Game . . . immediately.
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