ArtsEmerson: The World On Stage presents: Boys Don't Cry. Based on actual events, Boys Don’t Cry looks at the life of a young man named Brandon Teena. He is popular with the guys and easily charms the girls. But Brandon’s popularity is shattered when it is discovered that he was actually born female and preferred living life as a male—a realization that brings about tragic results for Brandon and his community. With this sweeping, controversial film, Hilary Swank delivers the Academy Award-winning performance that made her career and challenged the nation to examine its views on gender roles and sexuality.