In Transit (Movie Thoughts: About Ray)

55fb091a3f85eThere are very few films about the trans experience and Gaby Dellal’s film ‘About Ray’ tried to bridge that gap. It tells the story of Ramona/Ray, a New York City teen who wants to transition from female to male. the issue is handled sensitively, and his mother, Maggie, played by Naomi Watts, is for the most part supportive, although naturally she has reservations about the whole transition process. The topic is commendable, as it sheds light on what trans peopel have to go through. but, this film tries to be much more than that, as if that wasn’t enough. It also deals with how maggie has to deal with that, in addition to an unnecessary soapy sub plot regarding Ray’s real father. Add to the mix Ray’s grandmother (Susan Sarandon) who is very much against the transition (‘Why can’t she be just a regular lesbian?”)  As a result, Ray’s character suffers from the result, as it feels underdeveloped. His whining about the transition sometimes feel like a petulant kid not being able to get a new iPhone. Elle Fanning, as Ray, tries hard to bring sensitivity to her portrayal, and she mostly succeeds despite the thin characterization. I liked Watts’ performance here. I always think she is one of those actresses who always disappear in her characters. Sarandon plays her character her not unlike every other character she has played in the past – her cutesy meddling mother routine is frankly getting old. Still, I think this film is worth watching. Although everything at the end is tied up with an unrealistic pretty bow, i was touched by the film in general, and in today’s Trump America, the unenlightened can use a glimpse of this light.

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