Critics Consensus

A terrific performance by Felicity Huffman carries this unconventional but touching transgender road movie.



Reviews Counted: 138

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Audience Score

User Ratings: 68,037


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Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
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Average Rating: 3.6/5

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Movie Info

The first film by Duncan Tucker, Transamerica stars Felicity Huffman as a pre-operative transsexual named Bree (whose given name was Stanley). One week before going under the knife, Bree learns that she fathered a boy who is now 17 and is in trouble with the law. Bree would like to ignore this information, but is forced to meet the young man, Toby (played by Kevin Zegers), by her analyst Margaret (Elizabeth Peña), who will not allow the surgery to happen unless Bree meets him and confronts this aspect of her past. Upon meeting, the son believes that Bree is simply a do-gooder. She buys a car and the two road-trip back to her home in Los Angeles, Bree all the while attempting to keep from Toby the truth of the situation. ~ Perry Seibert, Rovi

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Felicity Huffman
as Bree Osbourne
Kevin Zegers
as Toby Wilkins
Fionnula Flanagan
as Elizabeth Osbourne
Graham Greene (II)
as Calvin Manygoats
Burt Young
as Murray Osbourne
Venida Evans
as Arletty
Raynor Scheine
as Bobby Jensen
Grant Monohon
as Hitchhiker
Bianca Leigh
as Mary Ellen
Danny Burstein
as Dr. Spikowsky
Craig Bockhorn
as Police Sergeant
Andrea James
as Voice Coach
Teala Dunn
as Little Girl
Jim Frangione
as Taylor's Father
Elayne Stein
as Phoenix Lady
Amy Povich
as Phoenix Cop
Burton Elias
as Male Nurse
as Filipino Nurse
Lou Lou
as Gas Station Dog
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News & Interviews for Transamerica

Critic Reviews for Transamerica

All Critics (138) | Top Critics (40)

  • It's funny in spots, touching in others and uniformly life-affirming.

    Feb 2, 2006 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Huffman's performance redeems parts of the movie but, until the final 30 minutes, Transamerica too often feels like a journey to nowhere.

    Feb 2, 2006 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Transamerica is a routine road-trip comedy-drama with a twist.

    Jan 27, 2006 | Rating: 3/5
  • Huffman's performance in Transamerica, as a pre-op male-to-female transsexual coping with the sudden emergence of a long-lost son, is much better than the movie it's in; indeed, she singlehandedly takes Transamerica to a higher plane.

    Jan 20, 2006 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • It's a farce with heart, a meditation on identity, family and gender politics that has real faith in its characters -- even when the characters themselves lack it.

    Jan 20, 2006 | Rating: 3/4
  • As Bree, who started her unhappy life as Stanley, the angular Huffman, a fine comedic actress who carried home an Emmy this fall, is a compelling portrait of wounded dignity. She is wholly fascinating and heartbreaking.

    Jan 20, 2006 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Transamerica

"Transamerica" is really the first film to truly focus on the journey of a transsexual, while also dealing with a complex story filled with interesting characters, and on top of that using a frame narrative of a road trip. The transformation made by the main character not only remains inspiring for the audience, but was also bittersweet when watching the stagnant life built around Bree (Huffman) and what becomes of her in the end of the film. The characters are also varied and complicated, from her therapist to her biological son (Zegers), who she road trips with from New York to Los Angeles. Bree is a pre-op transsexual who has just found out she has a son by the one girl she had sex with before starting her transformation into a man. Her son lives a life as a recluse and drug addict in New York City, prostituting himself and dreaming of a day that he can go live with his real father out in Hollywood. Abused and worse for wear Toby (Zegers) meets Bree, who works under the guise of a church patron in order to get Toby to go with her and find him a home before her therapist will sign off for the surgery. Bree finds herself really living for the first time since her journey began, and by the end she has found something out about herself, as well as found herself able to understand what it is to be a parent and love another person with abject affection. Felicity Huffman, in the title role, gives one of the most inspired performances of the decade, and really delves into the world of transsexuality, as well as educates through example. Bree is a strong, suitable character for those who want guidance. Besides this being a prime example of an iconoclastic LGBTQ character, Bree is also a remarkably flawed and interesting character. The entire film works as both an intense voyage into the relationship between an estranged father and son, as well as a coming of age story, as well as a story about the surgery of a transsexual. It's a rich story that explores a lot of great themes and has a diverse roster of characters, so it's enjoyable as well as introspective, which makes it a great film regardless.

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer


Lovely movie. Huffman was awesome as the sensitive Bree. Interesting how they chose a woman for the part instead of a man, but it totally worked. I like how the emphasis isn't on the transgender theme, but in growing as a person and connecting with other people.

Saskia D.
Saskia D.

Super Reviewer

Felicity Huffman absolutely knocked my socks off!

Randy Tippy
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

Transamerica, an unconventional road movie, to say the least, hits more than it misses, but for a supposedly boundary-breaking film, I found that it only scratched the surface of the kind of story it's trying to tell (man meets the son he didn't know he had and son meets father, but father looks and acts and feels like a... mother, I guess?). What I liked about this film was that it was very realistic in its way. I think what I didn't like was the pacing. The film stood by a lot of road movie clichés in its first half, and I found many of the scenic driving shots to be lulls that impeded the story (as opposed to additions that helped it along). Also, the editing in the early going is rather jumpy, and the director pulls one of my least favourite tricks: starting a conversation, for instance, in a restaurant, then picking that conversation up where it left off in the car, already on the highway, as though the ten to fifteen minutes that have clearly passed have not. What, were the characters pondering it the whole time? The ensemble cast does good work in some challeneging scenarios, particularly Huffman and Zegers, but the script and the direction cause the film to come up short. It didn't quite get where it was going... the second third of the film is a real powerhouse, but it doesn't save the stuttering first act or the suddenly-over finale. I'm worried that I'm being unnecessarily hard on this movie, but overall it just wasn't as hard-hitting (emotionally or "social-commentarily") as I expected it would be.

Daniel Perry
Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer

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