When Girl, a film about a transgender woman who aspires to be a ballerina, premiered this past May at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, it did so to a great deal of debate in the transgender community.  For starters, the film was from a cisgender filmmaker who chose to cast another cisgender male actor in the role of a transgender female.  Shortly after the film premiered, Netflix acquired the film, which is directed by Belgian filmmaker Lukas Dhont.  And then the film started receiving a wave of festival awards, starting with the Camera d’Or for best first film and the Queer Palm (awarded to one LGBTQ film). Actor Victor Polster, the cisgender man playing a transgender character, took home the Best Actor Prize for Un Certain Regard.

As the film began its festival run, critics wrote positive reviews.  Some would tackle the cisgender casting while others completely ignored it.  But most notably, these reviews were being written by cisgender film critics.  A cisgender film critic isn’t going to view the film like a transgender critic, one who can truly grapple with the choices being made here. In a perfect world, my being a transgender woman would not be the thing that defines me.  But this world isn’t perfect and because I’m transgender, people turn to film critics such as me to hear what I have to say about movies like this.

And I have a lot to say about Girl, which is a dangerous movie.

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During the Toronto International Film Festival, I sat down with two-time Oscar-nominated film editor Joe Walker. Walker was attending the festival for the world premiere of Steve McQueen’s new film, Widows. Our conversation in Toronto, which took place prior to the world premiere, where the film was met with glowing reviews.

Widows opens in theaters tomorrow, November 16, 2018. Read More »

What They Had Director Interview

During the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival, I had the opportunity to interview What They Had writer-director Elizabeth Chomko.  This is the feature directorial debut for Chomko, who returned to her hometown of Chicago to film it with an all-star cast featuring Hilary Swank, Michael Shannon, Robert Forster, Blythe Danner, and Taissa Farmiga.

What They Had starts as Bridget (Swank) returns home to Chicago so that both she and her brother (Shannon) can take care of their mother, Ruth (Danner).  The problem is that their father Burt (Forster), isn’t ready to move her into a care center devoted to patients suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s.

It’s a film that I found myself connecting to on a personal level because my own grandmother suffered from memory loss in her later years after her heart stopped while undergoing surgery.  When she passed away while I was in high school, her memory was no longer what it used to be. I even touched on this in my interview with Chomko.

Bleecker Street opens this deeply moving and personal film in limited release today. It will expand in the weeks ahead.

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nicole maines Transgender Superhero

With the casting of transgender activist and actress Nicole Maines in season 4 of Supergirl as Nia Nal, history is being made. Maines will become the first transgender superhero in the history of television.

Known mostly for being an activist, Maines is no stranger to appearing in TV or film. She appeared in a guest-starring role in a 2015 episode of Royal Pains. On the documentary side, Maines was one of many people profiled in HBO’s The Trans List. This past summer, Maines wrapped production as Laurel in the Brad Michael Elmore-directed Bit.

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GHOST IN THE SHELL

Following the announcement that Scarlett Johansson would be taking on the role of transgender man Dante “Tex” Gill in the crime drama Rub and Tug, the actress was met with outrage. Did the actress think she wouldn’t be met with opposition when the trans community learned of Gill’s background? And how much longer will we have to have this conversation? 

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