BOYS DON’T CRY (1999)
It’s the film that introduced the world to the talent known as Hilary Swank. More importantly, it’s the film that dramatized — brilliantly, searingly, brutally — the life of Brandon Teena, a transgendered teen viciously murdered after the crowd he ran with discovered him to be a biological female. Kimberly Peirce’s direction is volatile and uncompromising, but it’s Swank’s remarkable, gripping, Oscar-winning performance that propels Boys Don’t Cry to absolute magnificence. Side note: Peirce, who is gay, has only made one film since — 2008’s critically-acclaimed box office flop Stop-Loss.