transamerica2As the stressed out Lynette Scavo on Desperate Housewives Felicity Huffman is one of the most recognizable women on television, but I would guess that not even her biggest fans would recognize her in Transamerica, out this week on DVD. In her Oscar nominated role she plays Bree, a pre-operative transsexual about to undergo the final stages of her transformation from male to female when she discovers that she has a son from a long-ago tryst—when she was still a biological man named Stanley. Huffman disappears into the character, playing Bree as an introverted button-down conservative, particular about grammar and manners who owns up to the responsibility she feels to her son. The better part of the movie is spent on the road as the Bree and her son get to know one another on a drive from New York to Los Angeles.

Transamerica’s greatest asset is Huffman who brings humanity to a role that could have been a stereotype.