My thoughts: Set around a gritty crime-filled Brooklyn backdrop, Robert De Niro stars as a proud retired beat-cop who is left partially paralysed following a stroke. De Niro's performance is overwhelmingly powerful, yet subtle enough to be believable. Philip Seymour Hoffman is the truly surprising star here in a mind-blowing portrayal of an unattractive pre-op transexual.
De Niro and Hoffman, both masters in their professions, truly capture their characters so beautifully that within minutes you know almost everything you need to know and can almost envision the life history of these two without needing to a mess of unnecessary dialogue and flashbacks.
The humour in the story is black and aptly placed enough just enough to draw you out of the serious aspects of the story. The lines in this film are hilarious, hurtfully truthful and memorable. The soundtrack absolutely fantastic, and well worth getting, incidentally.
The Plot: Walter Koontz, a retired beat cop wants nothing more than a peaceful life where he can enjoy solitude in his Brooklyn apartment but finds it difficult at times to ignore 'Miss Rusty', a pre-op transexual who rehearses with 'her' Drag Queen show during the day and at night dons full wigs, extensive makeup and more sequins than Vivian Westwood can shake a fist at. Walt cannot abide the noise, nor the lifestyle that 'Rusty' projects, finding it offensive, so the two do not see eye-to-eye.
When a resident of the apartment building steals from a local gangster, Walt tries to intervene when guns go off and unfortunately has a stroke out in the stairwell, leaving him partially paralysed and barely able to speak. When his therapist suggests that he take singing lessons to help relax his face muscles and vocal chords, Walt has little to lose but to try. Walt, barely able to walk the length of himself finds it impossible to go to a professional singing teacher, and instead musters up the courage to request of 'Rusty' that 'she' help him with his problem.
Despite being unable to agree on most points of view, they find themselves slowly easing into an unlikely friendship where Walt's eyes are minisculely opened up to how life is for a woman trapped in a man's body.