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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.