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"DIFFERENT FOR GIRLS"
(1997) (Rupert Graves, Steven Mackintosh) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Mild Minor *Mild None None
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Minor None None None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy Minor Mild Mild Mild


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: Two former pals reestablish their friendship many years after high school and deal with the fact that one of them is now a transsexual woman.
PLOT:
Paul Prentice (RUPERT GRAVES) and Karl Foyle (STEVEN MACKINTOSH) haven't seen each other in sixteen years since they were last in high school and were believed to be gay lovers since Paul always protected Karl and his effeminate behavior. Although it's been many years and Karl is now Kim, a transsexual woman, Paul instantly recognizes his old friend. While there was always something of an attraction between the two, their sexual differences now spark a more serious interest in each other. Even though Paul, a motorcycle riding courier, is dating his boss, Angela (NISHA K. NAYAR), he's drawn to Kim. This is despite the fact that his occasional disgust and childlike curiosity about her cloud his true emotions. Kim, a greeting card writer, doesn't know quite what to do and confides in her sister, Jean (SASKIA REEVES), who's created her own relationship problems by cheating on her husband, Neil (NEIL DUDGEON). From that point on, the two old friends must decide whether to keep a platonic relationship or allow it to become something more.
WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
It's not likely unless the film's novelty might interest some older teens.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For nudity, brief graphic sexuality and strong language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • STEVEN MACKINTOSH plays a transsexual woman (ie. Formerly a man) who must deal with his/her own insecurities as well as being attracted to an old high school friend.
  • RUPERT GRAVES plays a thirty-four-year-old man who's never grown up, acts immature, and can't hold a steady job. Additionally, he cheats on his girlfriend to be with a transsexual woman.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: 3 out of 10
    This film stands out for its unique approach regarding relationships as not only does it deal with the whole gay/transsexual issue, but it also includes the startling, but intriguing fact that the two potential lovers used to be same sex friends in high school. While that sounds like a high concept pitch a Hollywood exec would make when describing the latest gender bender comedy, this film takes a rather dry and serious approach in telling the story. That's actually a shame, because it could have used more humor to make it not only more fun to watch, but also more accessible to audiences by creating a more human story. I'm not suggesting that the movie should have been a screwball, broad-based comedy, but c'mon, there's a great deal of comic potential hidden in the plot's sub text. While the two lead characters behave awkwardly toward their situation and each other, some funny moments would surely arise from their "predicament." Such scenes would have softened the film and would have taken it past its "high concept" plot. As it is, we're kept at a distance and forced to become voyeurs. Instead of feeling for the main characters (which again would make them accessible to the audience), we become like the other characters in the film and simply gawk and watch in fascination as the events unfold.

    It is interesting that director Richard Spence chose an actor (MacKintosh) whose appearance as a woman still has obvious masculine features. While that does allow for other characters to immediately see that he/she wasn't born a woman and causes them to display their prejudices that then fuel the plot, imagine if Kim were stunning and Paul didn't recognize his old friend. Of course that sounds even more high concept, and yes, we're guilty of wanting to rewrite the story into something the film makers obviously didn't want to tell. I suppose I'm just reiterating that beyond the initial shock aspect, the story doesn't live up to the expectations that are built up from the intriguing premise. Adding humor wouldn't necessarily have dramatically changed the story, but it would have added some spark -- and believability -- both of which are solely missing in this production.

    The performances are decent and believable and MacKintosh does make us feel for his character's plight. His shy, reserved Kim has been brutalized by the world and doesn't want any more trouble. Graves plays a punk rock loving character who has yet to grow up, and he does a good job at creating him, but he certainly isn't a likeable character. One can't tell why these two are attracted to each other beyond whatever they felt for each other in high school, and that's never fully explored. I guess we're supposed to accept that opposites attract and that shy, reserved Kim will teach Paul how to grow up, while he'll teach her how to relax and have fun. Well, we've seen all of that before and the transsexual element puts a slight spin on it, but not enough to make the film any fun to watch. Looking beyond its novelty, "Different For Girls" isn't really that different from other relationship movies, and its certainly not as good as most of them. We give this film a 3 out of 10.

    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Obviously the transsexual issue, and the fact that a man has graphic (but brief) sex with his old friend who's now a woman, will probably put off many parents and others who are advised not to see this film if that sort of thing bothers you. There's male full frontal nudity along with "female" bare breasts and some sexual discussions. Profanity is extreme with 6 "f" words, and a subplot involves the main character's sister having an affair. Beyond the above, the other categories don't have a great deal of objectionable material. Although few children will be interested in this feature, we strongly suggest that you look through the content should someone in your family want to see this film.

    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Paul has a beer and Kim has a glass of wine while others also drink in the background of a bar.
  • People drink beer outside a concert.
  • Paul drinks leftover wine at Kim's place.
  • Jean's husband pours Kim a drink.
  • Jean drinks wine with dinner.
  • Kim and Paul have drinks.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Paul has a few bloody scrapes on his face after being beaten up by a cop.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Some viewers may see both lead characters as having both types of attitudes with one of them being a transsexual and the other being attracted to and then having sex with that person.
  • Students make fun of Karl and Paul in high school and in one scene hit Karl with rolled up, wet towels in a high school shower.
  • Kim's sister Jean is having an affair with an old fling despite being married.
  • Some cops make fun of Paul and Kim (in a police van) and then one of them punches Paul after he stops the cop from running his hand up between Kim's legs.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • None.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Bastards," "Bullocks," "Bloody," "Wanker," "Hard on" (sexual), "Piss off," and "Whore."
  • Students hit Karl with rolled up, wet towels in a high school shower.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 6 "f" words, 10 "s" words, 9 slang terms for male genitals (the "d," "c," and "p" words along with "schlong" and "willy"), 1 slang term for breasts (the "t" word), 3 hells, 1 ass, and 3 uses of "God" and 1 use each of "Christ" and "Oh God" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Obviously there's talk about Kim/Karl's operation (she states that she saw her penis as "a growth" and thus had it removed) and about her sexual orientation (after recoiling from an attempted kiss, Paul says "I'm straight," to which Kim replies, "So am I").
  • We see full frontal and rear nudity of Karl in a high school shower. Due to the way he's standing, however, it appears that he has no penis.
  • Some of Paul's friends tease him about his relationship with Angela who's just handed him a check. They then ask if he's making "deposits in her account."
  • Kim's sister, Jean, uses Kim's "flat" to have sex with an old fling (not seen).
  • Paul finds what may be a dildo (she calls it her "dilator") in Kim's medicine cabinet.
  • After Kim talks about the changes that hormone therapy has made to her body (she describes her breasts, nipples, etc...) Paul gets up and leaves stating that he's got "a hard on." After they get into a squabble over that, Paul pulls his penis out from his pants (seen just once) and then goes outside making a commotion while still "hanging out." He's eventually arrested after many people see him.
  • Paul asks to see what Kim's body looks like, so she undresses, but due to the lighting, we see only her breasts. He then undresses, they kiss, and he then lies down on top of her (both are nude). She then gets on top of him and guides him inside her (we only see her hand) and he remarks "It fits."
  • SMOKING
  • Paul smokes several times.
  • Some motorcyclists smoke.
  • People smoke in a bar.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Kim's sister and her family have a hard time when it's discovered that the sister is having an affair and that her husband isn't the father of their child. Also, Kim has sex (not seen) with her old flame -- the father of her son -- while the son is in the next room in Kim's apartment.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Transsexuality.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Students hit Karl with rolled up, wet towels in a high school shower. Paul comes to his rescue and then he and another student push each other into the walls.
  • A cab turns the corner and runs into Paul (on his motorcycle) sending him flying over the hood.
  • A cop beats up Paul (punches and kicks) in a police van after Paul stops him from running his hand up between Kim's legs.
  • Neil, who's upset after learning of his wife's infidelity, takes out his anger on a military subordinate and pushes and yanks the man through an obstacle course.



  • Reviewed September 18, 1997

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