Tootsie [1982]

One of the touchstone movies of the 1980s, Tootsie stars Dustin Hoffman as an out-of-work actor who disguises himself as a dowdy, middle-aged woman to get a part on a hit soap opera. The scheme works, but while he/she keeps up the charade, Hoffman's character comes to see life through the eyes of the opposite sex. The script by Larry Gelbart (with Murray Schisgal) is a winner, and director Sydney Pollack brings taut proficiency to the comedy and sensitivity to the relationship nuances that emerge from Hoffman's drag act. Great supporting work from Teri Garr, Dabney Coleman, Charles Durning, Bill Murray, and pre-stardom Geena Davis. But the film finally belongs to Hoffman, who seems to connect with the character at a very deep and abiding level. --Tom Keogh

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Michael Dorsey:
Thank you, Gordon. Well, I cannot tell you all how deeply moved I am. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that I would be the object of so much genuine affection. It makes it all the more difficult for me to say what I'm now going to say. Yes. I do feel it's time to set the record straight. You see, I didn't come here just as an administrator, Dr. Brewster; I came to this hospital to settle an old score. Now you all know that my father was a brilliant man; he built this hospital. What you don't know is that to his family, he was an unmerciful tyrant - a absolute dodo bird. He drove my mother, his wife, to - to drink; in fact, she - uh, she she she went riding one time and lost all her teeth. The son Edward became a recluse, and the oldest daughter - the pretty one, the charming one - became pregnant when she was fifteen years old and was driven out of the house. In fact, she was so terrified that she would, uh, that, uh, that, that, that the baby daughter would bear the stigma of illegitimacy that she, she - she decided to change her name and she contracted a disfiguring disease... after moving to Tangiers, which is where she raised the, the, the little girl as her sister. But her one ambition in life - besides the child's happiness - was to become a nurse, so she returned to the States and joined the staff right here at Southwest General. Well, she worked here, she knew she had to speak out wherever she saw injustice and inhumanity. God save us, you do understand that, don't you, Dr. Brewster?

John Van Horne:
I never laid a hand on her.

Michael Dorsey:
Yes, you did. And she was shunned by all you nurses, too... and by a, what do you call it, what do you call it, a - something like a pariah, to you doctors who found her idealistic and reckless. But she was deeply, deeply, deeply, deeply, deeply, deeply loved by her brother. It was this brother who, on the day of her death, swore to the good Lord above that he would follow in her footsteps, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, just, just, just, just, just, just, just, just, just, just owe it all up to her. But on her terms. As a woman. And just as proud to be a woman as she ever was. For I am not Emily Kimberly, the daughter of Dwayne and Alma Kimberly. No, I'm not. I'm Edward Kimberly, the recluse brother of my sister Anthea. Edward Kimberly, who has finally vindicated his sister's good name. I am Edward Kimberly. Edward Kimberly. And I'm not mentally ill, but proud, and lucky, and strong enough to be the woman that was the best part of my manhood. The best part of myself.

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