Pidduck, Julianne. “Risk and Queer Spectatorship.” Screen 42:1 Spring 2001: 97-102. Print.
Pidduck takes up several ethical issues involved in viewing Boys Don’t Cry by highlighting the discrepancies that accrue in translating real-life events and human experiences into the narrative conventions of specific genres. In particular, Pidduck focuses on BDC as a road movie and interrogates its depiction of Brandon as an outlaw figure, as well as its handling of the thematic of escape. As many critics have argued, part of BDC‘s mainstream success was a consequence of Brandon’s story being made culturally legible through the deployment of popular genres, such as the road movie and melodrama. Pidduck argues that BDC transforms Brandon into a stock character of the road film: the outlaw. Figuring Brandon as an outlaw turns both the fictionalized and real-life Brandon into an icon. Pidduck also points out that the fictionalized Brandon’s on-screen appeal is problematic because it is always inseparable from the body performing the representation: the cisgender female body of Hilary Swank. Lastly, Pidduck notes that rather than end in escape, as most road films do, BDC remains stuck in Falls City–a stasis that the film attributes largely to class issues. Pidduck finds prejudices in BDC‘s depiction of class, highlighting its exoticization of poor whites as white trash and the rural roads of the American Midwest–as well as the South–as “liminal elsewhere[s]” rife with opportunities to “[explore] violence and queer sexuality” (100).