I Want What I Want (1972) Poster

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Simplistic yet thought provoking
melinda200117 June 2001
This is the story of a young man's slow transition into the woman he always knew he was meant to be. Roy/Wendy played by Anne Heywood takes the plunge, leaving her abusive father's house and starting life anew as a woman. Through trial and error she learns the skills and consequences of being a woman as well as the terrible problems involved in not being considered fully female.

The look of the film is total 70's complete with bellbottoms and sappy soundtrack. The story is also somewhat unrealistic. For example, Wendy is able to become fully passable with only a short time of practicing in private. The film goes on to explore many interesting consequences of a life "under cover" when all she wants is a simple life as a normal woman. With all it's obvious faults, "I Want What I Want" contains some surprisingly touching and sensitive moments. And although it appears to have been a very cheap production, the filmmakers manage to do quite a lot with their limited resources. For example, background sounds of cars and dogs during some of Wendy's terrifying moments in public give an eerily realistic feel.

I always find it disappointing when a woman is cast for the part of a man pretending to be a woman. "Victor Victoria" is a fine film using the same gimmick but I find it very difficult to see Julie Andrews as a man even though she gives about the best performance she was capable of. The same goes for this film. Contrast that with "The Crying Game" where the illusion is perfect due to exceptional casting.

Probably controversial in it's time, "I Want What I Want" is a clearly a small film but one worth watching by anyone interested transgender issues.
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6/10
She Got What He Wanted
richardchatten27 August 2017
The British cinema's response to 'The Christine Jorgensen Story' (1970). Five years after casting his wife Anne Heywood as a butch lesbian in 'The Fox' (1967), producer Raymond Stross showcased her as a troubled young male transsexual in this film of Geoff Brown's 1966 novel which bites off considerably more than it can chew.

Ms Heywood is sympathetic in the lead as conflicted young Roy - who would already have enough hang ups without his macho, ex-army father Harry Andrews - but receives little help from her makeup and costumes which make her look like a marionette from 'Joe 90' as 'Roy'. (Christine Jorgensen herself thought John Hansen made a more convincing girl in the former than Heywood did a boy). As 'Wendy' both his father and sister tell him he looks ridiculous in drag; but to me Heywood looks absolutely fab, and only too convincing as the seriously hot 40 year-old woman she actually was at the time. (As 'Roy' she looks more like a schoolboy than a grown man; a common side effect of female-to-male cross-dressing. I believe it's known as the 'Peter Pan Effect'.) Today's feminists would also rightly take issue with the notion that only a woman would manifest Roy's preference to discussing shoes and fabrics to politics.

The film abandons 'Roy' surprisingly early on to concentrate for most of the running time on his efforts to pass as 'Wendy', and ends very abruptly. But it certainly makes you think about 'her' loneliness, her efforts to find work and build a new life without references from her former employer or a birth certificate; and the daily balancing act 'she' has to perform to pass as a woman without men getting too interested in 'her'.
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