Cowboys review – progressive, predictable Montana trans tale

Comic actors Steve Zahn and Jillian Bell are uncharacteristically earnest in this achingly well-intentioned but thuddingly heavy-handed family drama. Zahn plays Troy, the heavily medicated but supportive father of a trans boy, Joe (Sasha Knight, impressive). Bell is Sally, Joe’s mother, who forces Barbies and pink on to her mortified child. In the war zone of Troy and Sally’s relationship, pronouns are wielded like weapons.

Even before the repeated shots of Troy chucking back mood stabilisers by the fistful, the unsanctioned father-son road trip into the Montana wilderness seems like a really bad idea. Then Troy loses his tablets and the cops, led by a firm but fair Ann Dowd, close in on the boy and his increasingly erratic father. Plenty of child-with-gun foreshadowing leaves little doubt about how the third act will play out.

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