Normal is a spectacular movie which encompassed both a war and unity of emotions, standards, and ideologies. It showcased the play of sexuality, understanding, anger, transformation, ostracism, and most especially, love, depicted in the lives of the characters that compose the film. How all of them owned a different perception of Roy’s transsexualism and how these perceptions seemed to be intertwined dramatically revealed the key element that make up Normal’s core.
Personally, I found the movie very moving and inspiring. It is not everyday that films like these are produced in the industry for the obvious fact that transsexualism, not to mention heterosexuality and bisexuality, is still on the process of holding a secure, firm, and properly recognized position in society. Normal was successful in its attempt to disband stereotypes regarding deviant behavior and twisted genders. It portrayed how acceptance and love serve as the main dissolving agent in breaking norms in response to the changes that occur in time.
Roy, one of the main characters, was extremely daring and determined to have mustered strength to face such an immense transformation and survived the critical judgment of his family, peers, and community fellows. Containing his desire to be a woman solely to himself for that length of time is something not regular people could ever put up with.
The weight was even graver, however, on her wife Irma. In my opinion, she was the one who suffered most with what had happened. After 25 years of marriage, two teenage offspring, and a healthy relationship which was supposedly homosexual-to-homosexual, her husband tells her that he is a woman trapped in a man’s body and that he wanted to live like a lady for good through gender reassignment. Discovering that the man she fell in love with was replaced by someone with a heart of a woman would have been the key struggle in Ruth and Irma’s marriage.
Eventually, nonetheless, Irma learned to embrace Roy for who he is—the man he loved yet now with earrings, perfume, make-up, and even breasts. This was a strong proof that true love does conquer all and breaks differences. The occurrence tested if Irma was really willing to stay with Roy and to love him with all her heart, through sickness and health, for richer or poorer, with death as the sole wall that could separate them. The relationship of the couple evidently changed, but the love was still the same. This served as their starting point to both reliving an old chapter of their life and opening a new one together.
Patty Ann and Wayne, the couple’s children, were also affected by Roy’s revelation. Albeit their reactions were of opposite sides of the spectrum, these showed that they significantly cared about what happened to their father. Dealing with his kids, however, remained as another struggle for Roy.
Patty Ann took his father’s transformation in a positive light since she, too, was having a puberty and femininity crisis of her own. On the other hand, Wayne was infuriated. Being older, being the son, and being a hardcore rock music enthusiast, it was not peculiar that Wayne’s mind seemed to be very narrow when it came to gender issues.
The main character’s father also played a weighty part in Roy’s family struggle. Like Wayne, Roy Sr. strongly disagreed with what occurred to his son. During Roy’s early years, his father had already begun beating Roy to stop his feminine tendencies. His paternal influenced continued until Roy’s adulthood but failed to maintain his son’s manliness.
Together with his wife Irma, Roy struggled to face another conflict with an influential and important body outside their marriage: society. His revelation to the parish counselor initiated the ostracism that Roy encountered from the religious sector. This banishment was in line with the Vatican’s dissent for gender changes.
Though external to the scope of the movie, the Papal government most likely inspired the story’s plot. According to Asher (2003), gender reassignment shall not in any way change the gender of an individual in the vision of the church. Moreover, Catholics who underwent this kind of transformation shall not be “eligible to wed, be ordained to the priesthood or enter religious life” (par. 2). Gender reassignment merely changes the surface quality of the person and not his/her inner attributes and personality. These were the strong bases of Roy and Irma’s gradual but unyielding exclusion from the religious sector.
Roy also had problems in his work. He served almost his whole life as an employee in a farm machinery factory. Going to work one day all “womanized” expectedly brought in mockery from his coworkers. Roy’s boss, Clancy Brown, was compassionate enough to transfer him to a safer and more considerable work section. However, he developed affection for Irma, which pushed Roy’s work struggle to a higher notch. Fortunately, Roy’s wife realized that he was in love with no man other than his beloved husband.
This dedication, loyalty and commitment of Irma to Roy were what captivated me to the movie the most. These same attributes of Roy’s wife are the reasons why she is my favorite character. Like what I have mentioned before, Irma exemplified the power of true and powerful love. More than that, however, is Irma’s commendable courage to continue to walk with his husband, no matter how things have changed.
Remarkable courage was also exhibited by Roy. Personally accepting that he was a woman in a man’s body is already a valiant feat. Adding his revelation to his family and community during the period of his life when all was settled for him as a man can be considered a lifetime accomplishment. Not everyone who is gay, lesbian, or both can muster the willpower and inner strength that Roy depicted. Not all irregularly gendered can face life with the truth that they know deep within them.
There is this strong feeling inside of me that the movie Normal will forever hold a special place in my life. It taught me so many things about accepting changes and living with what and who matters in your life. Just be strong and all things will follow.
Asher, J. (2003, January 16). Vatican Will Not Endorse Gender Changes. Retrieved April 7, 2008 from http://www.planetout.com/pno/news/article.html?2003/01/16/3