They

Posted on April 23, 2018 at 6:57 pm

B +
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Profanity: Mild language
Alcohol/ Drugs: Alcohol
Violence/ Scariness: Issues of non-gender-conforming adolescence
Diversity Issues: A theme of the movie (gender and ethnicity)
Date Released to Theaters: April 23, 2018
Copyright 2018 Mass Ornament Films

Trans kids generally know who they are, even when they are very young. They don’t tell their families they want to be a gender different from their body parts. They say they are that gender, and it is usually their families who have to reframe their understanding of the boy or girl they thought they had. Even the most certain of children and the most understanding and supportive of families face a wrenching challenge as the child approaches adolescence. Do you block puberty with medication to preserve the child’s choices about gender until age 18? Secondary sex characteristics for the wrong gender can be intensely traumatic. But the medication can have side effects.

“They” and “their” are the preferred pronouns for the lead character, known just as J, and played by a trans actor named Rhys Fehrenbacher. J is a young teenager who is having an adverse reaction to the puberty blockers and has to decide what to do. J’s parents are away caring for another family member, their return home delayed, and J’s brisk but not uncaring sister Lauren (Nicole Coffineau) and her Iranian boyfriend, Araz (Koohyar Hosseini) have come to stay with J until their parents return.

Writer/director Anahita Ghazvinizadeh gives the film a lyrical, meditative quality. J’s parents, sister, Araz, and doctor are all understanding and supportive, if distracted. They are all so accepting that no one seems to think J might need to talk about the momentous decisions they are confronting.

We see J reciting Elizabeth Bishop’s poem, The Mountain:

I do not mean to complain.
They say it is my fault.
Nobody tells me anything.
Tell me how old I am.

The deepest demarcations
can slowly spread and fade
like any blue tattoo.
I do not know my age.

We see many moments in nature, as though to locate J’s transitions within the context of the natural world. Lauren and Araz are both preoccupied with their own personal and professional liminal challenges as well. There is also a long, seemingly improvised section that takes place in the home of one of Araz’s relatives, with Lauren and J at a large family party. Throughout, it almost seems as though we are eavesdropping on bits and pieces of the J’s world.

That is not always successful, and some of the choices are heavy-handed. But thankfully, it is not didactic or preachy. J may not know what they want, but Ghazvinizadeh has confidence that they will make the right choice, and trusts us to root for them.

Parents should know that this movie deals obliquely but frankly with issues of non-binary gender.

Family discussion: How do the boys with the bicycle feel about J? What should J do?

If you like this, try: the “I am Jazz” series on television

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Coming of age GLBTQ and Diversity movie review Movies Movies VOD and Streaming VOD and Streaming

Contest: Win a DVD/Blu-Ray of Atomic Blonde

Posted on April 22, 2018 at 7:57 pm

Copyright 2017 Focus Features
Win a copy of “Atomic Blonde,” one of 2017’s most intense action films, starring Charlize Theron and James McAvoy.

Send me an email at moviemom@moviemom.com with Atomic in the subject line and tell me your favorite spy story. Don’t forget your address! (US addresses only). I’ll pick a winner at random on May 1, 2018.

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Contests and Giveaways

Auction: Collection of Disney Artist Rolly Crump

Posted on April 15, 2018 at 9:12 am

Copyright Disney 1960
Rolly Crump is a true Disney Legend, an artist and designer who helped create some of Disneyland’s most iconic images in attractions like the Tiki Room, the Haunted Mansion, and It’s a Small World. His lifelong collection of Disney treasures is being auctioned April 28, 2018 by Van Eaton Galleries and the gorgeous catalogue can be viewed online. It includes animation cells, drawings, posters, correspondence, props, and Crump’s own stories about the objects.

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Cool Stuff

Get Ready for Avengers: Infinity War (a Crib Sheet)

Posted on April 13, 2018 at 3:56 pm

Copyright Disney/Marvel 2018
A lot is happening in “Avengers: Infinity War,” opening April 27, 2018, and there are a lot of characters and locations in 240 action-packed minutes. Some refresher/background:

Characters include the Avengers we already know: Iron Man, Captain America, Ant Man, Spider-Man, Black Panther, Black Widow, Thor, Hawkeye, Hulk, Dr. Strange (all of whom except Black Widow and Hawkeye have had their own movies), plus the secondary characters like Pepper Potts, Happy Hogan, and Heimdal and a few who are sometimes on our side, sometimes against us characters: Loki, Scarlet Witch, Bucky (glimpsed at the end of “Black Panther”), War Machine, Jarvis, Nebula, plus the “Guardians of the Galaxy” group, including Star Lord/Peter, Gamora, Drax, Groot, and Rocky Racoon.

The bad guy is Thanos, played by Josh Brolin, who basically wants to control or destroy everyone and everything. For that he needs all of the infinity stones, some of which we have already seen. Nerdist has a great, detailed breakdown of the stones and their history and powers.

Basically, all you need to know is that the bad guy is going to destroy everything and the good guys in various quippy combinations, are going to do their best to stop him, and if they can’t, of course they will AVENGE!

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