Neil Jordan's 2005 movie Breakfast on Pluto tells the bittersweet tale of Patrick (Cillian Murphy), an adopted Irish teenager who identifies as a woman. He adopts the name Kitten and swans about in women's clothes. However, this doesn't go down too well in conservative 1960s Ireland, so he movies to Swinging Sixties London to seek acceptance - and to search for his birth mother.
To prepare for his leading role, actor Cillian Murphy got stuck into studying women's body language. He also spent a few weeks with a drag queen who advised him how to dress, and took him out clubbing with friends.
By the way, the character Kitten is transgender. He's not a transvestite. The latter term is used within the film, but is only accurate within the context of Breakfast on Pluto's 1960s-1970s setting. Today in the 21st Century, the visibility and understanding of transgender lives and issues is much stronger than it was 40-plus years ago - and that's gone hand in hand with the development of much more clearly defined language. So, as I say, today you'll find that the correct word to describe a person who is biologically a man, but dresses and identifies as a woman, is transgender.
Wondering what other films deal with issues of gender? Check out When Sally Met Sally's pick of other films where boys be girls and girls be boys! And take a look at my recent review of the film Tomboy, which came out on DVD this week.
Breakfast on Pluto is showing tonight - Tuesday 6th March - on Film4 at 12.50am
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