Transamerica’s Title that Dismisses the True Themes of the Film

By: Katherine Naylor

MV5BMTQwMjExNzkzMV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjczNjEzMQ@@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_.jpgA few weeks ago, our class was asked to watch the film Transamerica directed by Duncan Tucker, starring Felicity Huffman and Kevin Zegers. Since, I have gone back and re-watched the film- I cannot stop thinking about the blunt title of the film that I believe does a disservice to a film that I find truly amazing.

image from source

The film follows the story of a transgendered woman who finds out that she is a father two weeks before her gender-change surgery. Her son is a drug addict who makes a living through prostitution on the streets of New York.

The title of the film makes it appear that the emphasis of the story is on that of a transgender. However, the film is so much more than that. It is a story of a drug addict. It is story of a sex abuse survivor. It is a story of a parent who is trying to understand this new identity. Even though, yes, Bree is going through a transition of gender, she is also transitioning into parenthood.


image from source

This film has amazing character development that leaves the viewer wanting nothing but happiness for Bree and her son, Toby. The viewer sees the personal struggles that each have, and how each are looking for love that they don’t know how to find.

The story line follows that of a “road trip” film with underlying struggles of identity, drugs and alchol, sexuality and abuse, as Professor Dalton discusses in her piece “From Mom to Dad: Transgendered Motherhood in Transamerica” from Motherhood Misconceived. 

The beauty of the this film is that the film handles so many different themes with grace. I highly suggest watching this film if you plan on researching about transgenders, sex, abuse, drugs or paternal/maternal relationships.



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One Response to Transamerica’s Title that Dismisses the True Themes of the Film

  1. mediaphiles says:

    I think the title “Transamerica” interesting, because I think the “trans” can be interpreted as transgender or transportation, combining the two main themes: transgender and road trip. But I get your point! If I see the title “Transamerica” out of nowhere, I’d probably think, “What is this? I might not be interested.” So I need to thank this class and Dr. Dalton for introducing me to this truly amazing movie!

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