Monday With Mildred: “3 Generations”

3 Generations movie poster

3 Generations

Welcome to the confusing world of the transsexual teenager. Even the people who support you get confused or try to help in weird ways. Until you’re old enough to make physical changes that more truly reflect your true gender, people everywhere will misgender you and use your dead name. It’s easy to become angry, and it’s easy to not understand that anger on the cis gender side. These two lines from the movie encapsulate this theme:

“Why can’t she just be a lesbian?” (says Ray’s lesbian grandmother)

“Cause she’s not a lesbian, mom, she’s a boy.” (says Ray’s supportive mom)

Ray is a typical teenager. Withdrawn, striking out on their own life riding their skateboard everywhere, eye rolling at the world, crushing on a girl from afar, and hoping to switch to the correct sex. Mom is supportive, insisting on proper pronouns and not using their dead name, but how strong is her support when it gets serious. Grandma is supportive to an extent but confused, and grandma’s girlfriend tries to be there for everyone and otherwise stay out of the way.

Ray needs parental consent to begin T (testosterone) treatment as a real, physical start on their transition. The problem is, they need a signature from both parents and the father is long gone from the family’s life. He has a whole new family, in fact, and he does not understand why his child should go through this bizarre (to him) process.

The movie tackles a lot of questions, like why is it so hard to be the parent of a transsexual child? Difficult past the political and religious garbage thrown at them, anyway.  Some of the answers are given in the movie as the mom works toward a more true understanding of her child. She’s afraid they might decide later it’s a mistake, and the whole idea is difficult to understand from her cis gender security. Even for a supportive parent it’s difficult. The film is every bit as much about the mom’s journey as her child’s.

As you might expect, the acting is good across the board. Mom is Naomi Watts (Mulholland Drive), grandmother is Susan Sarandon (Thelma and Louise) is grandmother and Elle Fanning (Maleficent) is Ray. I found the actress to be a tad too feminine to play male, but she was very fervent in the role.

This is a well-crafted movie that explores a weighty subject from the side of the people who are going through the emotional, physical and culture process of being transsexual. I didn’t find anything outstanding to mention, but nothing is weak, either. If you’re looking for a good drama with a bit of angst, definitely see this some time.


CFR: In Addition: I think I need to see this. 🙂 Thanks Mildred.

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