12 Best Gender Bender Movies of All Time

Gender Bender movies are movies where a person dresses, behaves and speaks in a way characteristic of the opposite gender. This is also called cross-dressing and to get more specific, a man who dresses up as a woman is called a drag queen and a woman who dresses up as a man is called drag king. There have been many movies with characters that cross-dress but very few have been able to capture the complexities of gender, sexuality and human desires in a way that is both intellectually stimulating and emotionally satisfying. This article takes a look at the list of 12 best gender bender movies ever made. So here we go,


12. She’s the Man (2006)

Inspired by William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night’, ‘She’s the Man’ is about a teenage girl who, disguised as a boy, gets into her brother’s soccer team after her team gets cut. Amanda Bynes stars in the lead role and her exuberant performance comes off as a saving grace in an otherwise forgettable film. There are occasional moments of brilliance in the film but it just fails to come off as a whole but Bynes carries the film forward with her endearing charisma, liveliness and charm.


11. To Wong Goo, Thanks For Everything! Julie Newmar (1995)

Beeban Kidron’s gorgeously messed up comedy drama follows three drag queens, one of them a newbie, who embark on an adventurous road trip to Los Angeles in order to perform in a competition. However, their joruney takes bizarre twists and turns and all on a sudden, reaching their destination becomes a challenge. The film is flawed in many ways and lacks the deftness and intelligence in handling its subject but the overall charm and delectable humor compensate for its flaws and it ultimately comes off as a memorable fun ride.


10. Kinky Boots (2005)

‘Kinky Boots’ depicts the relationship between a struggling shoe factory owner and a drag queen who helps the man save his business. Lola, the drag queen, brings about major changes to his business as she comes up with a plan to produce custom footwear for drag queens instead of men’s shows that his firm currently deals in. The film is well written and though may not be as sharp and intelligent as some of the others on the list, still comes off as a wildly entertaining piece partly due to the performances and the film’s good intentions.


9. The Birdcage (1996)

Robin Williams plays an openly gay owner of a drag club who, along with his drag queen partner, leads a very enjoyable life. However, their peace is shattered when Williams’ son decides to marry the daughter of the Republican Senator Kevin Keeley. The film is absurdly entertaining and though it seems like a charming, cross dressing flick on the surface, it transcends genres as it explores a wide variety of themes underneath the guise of a comedy. Williams is fantastic in the lead role and is the driving force of the film whilst the rest of the cast brilliantly compliment the well toned script.


8. Mulan (1998)

This animated musical comedy action flick tells the story of a young woman who disguises herself as a man and goes on to join the army and fight in place of her father who is physically weak. It’s a heroic tale of triumph, loyalty, duty and honor and the film is infused with a sense of energy that is intoxicating in its absurd optimism and hopefulness. The tone is well maintained throughout and the narrative never tends to drift apart despite the sweeping nature of the story. The film won numerous awards and accolades and is now regarded as one of the best animated movies of the last decade.


7. Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)

Chris Columbus’ endearing comedy drama tells the story of a divorced actor who disguises himself as a an old woman and begins to work as a housekeeper in order to interact with his children. Robin Williams stars in the lead role and his comic charisma drives the film ahead albeit the film’s inherent sentimentality tends to overshadow the brilliance of his performance in parts. It’s a lovely drama that takes a simple yet hopeful look at the themes of separation, divorce and the kind of impact it has on the family and children. Its tackling of the subject isn’t remarkably smart but its inherent optimism makes for a thoroughly satisfying experience.

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