Transamerica

Would you believe desperate housewife Felicity Huffman as a man? After seeing this wow of an actress play Stanley Osborne, just a few weeks away from the operation that will turn him into a her, you'll believe Huffman in anything. Writer-director Duncan Tucker lays many a plot contrivance in Huffman's path, but her Oscar-bait performance handles every curve he throws. That includes a road trip from New York to Los Angeles with Stanley — now Bree — pretending to be a Christian missionary so Toby (Kevin Zegers), the teen son he sired from a brief encounter, won't know his real identity. The comic highlight is a stopover in Phoenix to meet Stanley's parents — studies in denial as played by Burt Young and a flat-out hilarious Fionnula Flanagan. But the movie's soul is with Huffman. Speaking in a low voice, her posture as stiff as her vocabulary, her eyes a pool of sadness and hope, she turns this small, resonant film into a cry from the heart.

From The Archives Issue 107: April 27, 1972