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Film Review: Cowboys – BFI Flare Film Festival 2021

Cowboys Film Poster

I was very interested in watching this film, as I can’t really imagine the feeling of being frustrated with your gender and feeling like you were born as the wrong one.

Growing up, I only really knew about the 4 stereotypical gender types, the girly girl (of which I am definitely one), the the tomboy (which my younger sister was), the typical boy, and the girly boy, a boy who was a more sensitive type, who were constantly teased for being in touch with their ‘feminine side’.

But around the mid-90’s, attitudes to gender changed and a new sensitive man was encouraged, Gay men and Lesbians were able to be more open, but I have to admit that it wasn’t until the 2000’s that the topic of transgender people were starting to be discussed in the mainstream media and in society as a whole.

As a mother myself, by then, I tried to imagine what I would do if my own son had announced that he felt that he his really female and wanted to live his life as a girl… I would find it very hard to adjust, this is very similar to what the family in this film are dealing with.

The Synopsis

Troy ( Steve Zahn) who has his own problems, runs off with his trans son, Joe (Sasha Knight), into the Montana wilderness, when his ex-wife, Sally (Jillian Bell) refuses to allow their ‘daughter‘ to live her life as a boy.

Take a look at the trailer…

Cowboys Film Trailer

My Thoughts

Superb acting throughout by the amazing talent that is Sasha Knight, who brings us into the world as Josie/Joe, and the fight that she/he has trying to convince her parents and the world around him, that he is in fact not a tomboy but a boy!

Sasha Knight as Josie/Joe with Steve Zahn as Troy in Cowboys Film

Troy, his Dad, is a loveable understanding father, who is separated from his wife, but is still wanting a bond with his child, whether she identifies as a girl or a boy, at first I thought he probably wanted a son anyway, like I assume most men, do, so they can indulge in boy/man stuff together, which is also a thought echoed by mother, Sally, who feels is that Troy is the main encourager of their daughter’s behaviour.

Sasha Knight as Josie/Joe with Steve Zahn as Troy in Cowboys Film

The film is gripping and fast paced, and I felt that the issues and situations raised were realistic and explored well. This is definitely not your typical a western film.

My only criticism, is that I wish we got to know Joe’s mother more, just to see why she was so against this change, I know she mentioned that God had a plan and had given Josie her body, but other than religious -rooted reasons, it would have been good to hear her full reasons for dismissing Joe’s claims.

It is beautifully filmed in Kalispell, Montana USA, which is just totally breath-taking.

This film absolutely changed my view on transgender kids, I always felt that they were probably just going through ‘a phase’ and were too young to know their own minds.

A definite must see film, entertaining as well as educational – just brilliant!

Thanks for reading!

Chanel x

Chanel Williams

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