Released 30 years ago today, this Irish thriller still has a worldwide impact
It was – and still is – a truly landmark moment in cinema.
It isn't very often that a movie set in Ireland proves to be massively unpopular in Ireland, only to be picked up elsewhere in the world.
But that is exactly what happened with The Crying Game, which fared poorly with critics and general cinema-going audiences when it was released in 1992.
It was only after it was released in the United States of America on 25 November, 1992 that it began to receive the attention it deserved, going on to become a minor box office success, as well as being nominated for six Oscars, going on to win Best Original Screenplay.
Written and directed by Neil Jordan (Michael Collins, Interview with the Vampire), it tells the story of IRA member Fergus (Stephen Rea), who begins a relationship with Dil (Jaye Davidson), the lover of a British soldier (Forest Whitaker) being held captive by the IRA.
When the movie was initially released in Ireland and the UK, the sympathetic portrayal of an IRA member was put forward as the crucial reason why it failed to win audiences over.
The lack of knowledge of The Troubles by US audiences is said to be the exact reason why it performed much better there, where the film was promoted around the request not to spoil the film's "secret" regarding Dil.
It was only after audiences and critics in the States showed up to support The Crying Game – including a 94% score on Rotten Tomatoes – that a re-release in Ireland and the UK gave it the home audience it was worthy of.
Three decades on, due to the still-present lack of proper diversity, it unfortunately feels as cutting-edge as ever to have a trans character at the centre of a major movie. JOE recently caught up with LGBTQI+ icon Ts Madison while she was promoting BROS, and we discussed the first movie that she watched in which she felt represented onscreen.
Madison told us the following:
"For me, I didn't see my fully, but I saw a portion of me that made me understand that this is who I was. It was The Crying Game. 1992, I remember it like it was yesterday.
"When I saw Dil in The Crying Game, I was like 'Oh! Okay, alright, now I need to put a name to it. Because that is me, but I need to put a name to it now'.
"And so what is so iconic about it - God, I almost got emotional - what is so iconic about [BROS] is that people will have that 'Oh!' when they see themselves. And people don't understand how important it is to actually find some fragment, some piece of you in the world, where you feel like you a travelling through this place alone.
"And you might not know what to name it or to call it. For me, this was 30 years ago. So imagine, 30 years ago, I didn't know what trans was. I didn't know if I was a freak, a drag queen, the f-word. So for me to see that and to find out, these many years later, 'Oh, this is a trans character'.
"It still makes me feel... I just got really emotional just now from that, because I felt weird. I felt weird 30 years ago. 'Where do I fit? What is this?' And then to see [The Crying Game] and say 'That's it, right there, that's it'.
"I am so happy to be a part of film like [BROS], because [The Crying Game] did this for me."
Check out our full chat with Ts Madison and her BROS co-star Miss Lawrence right here: