Response To “The Crying Game”
The Crying Game shocked me when I first googled it and discovered its extremely high ratings and popularity. For a film including a transsexual as one of the main characters, it seems unusual that it would become so mainstream. I feel like the reason for this can be attributed to the complexity of the film and the complexity of the characters relationships. This film did a good job at breaking down the barriers and exposing the stigmas surrounding transsexuality, homosexuality, and femininity. I think the discussion of femininity is most interesting with The Crying Game as seen through the character Jude.
Jude is introduced in the very beginning of the film and it is immediately evident that she wields a certain sexual power that stems from being a female. She is able to use her femininity to entrap Jody by the IRA. Following that scene, when the IRA brings Jody back to their base, he becomes irate when Jude is with him, insisting that she is dangerous, due to the fact that she is the reason he has been captured. In Jody’s eyes, Jude was dangerous because she is a sexually attractive woman, he could not resist.
Throughout the movie, it becomes clear that Jude is supposed to be the “bad guy.” She depicts society’s view of the ideal female and it is a counter to Dil, who is a transsexual, and thus less than ideal. Jude is portrayed in three different styles throughout the film. Aspasia Kotsopoulos and Josephine Mills, who react to the movie describe these three styles as (1) sexually enticing, (2) obedient female in oversized fisherman’s sweater, and (3) femme fatal with dark, severe-looking hair and red lips. Her final “look” completes the movie with much disruption as she shows up in London and ruins the newly resolved relationship between Fergus and Dil. In the film, Dil is also depicted as overly feminine. So much so that Fergus and presumably Jody do not even realize that she is a transsexual woman.
In the scene where Fergus discovers Dil has male anatomy, he reacts by hitting her and throwing up. Seems like a typical “Hollywood” reaction, yet this is the only negative response. Fergus stands by Dil, continues to love her and tries everything he can to protect her. This includes cutting her hair and dressing her in men’s clothes. It is interesting how this film handles the transsexual element. For a controversial topic, Dil is a central character who is not characterized as gay from the beginning. She is allowed to keep her identity the way she wants and triumphs in the end, as Fergus even goes to jail for her.
Overall, I thought this was a great film and provides a nice basis for discussing the roles of feminine characters and what femininity means. When Fergus gets in touch with his feminine side, he can accept Dil for who she is and ultimately escapes his former life with the IRA for Dil in the end.