1 NIGHT

Writer/Director Minhal Baig tests the boundaries of time in a reflective drama about young love, fading love and one eventful night at a Los Angeles hotel. Anna Camp and Justin Chatwin star as a married couple who are reminded, by an unlikely source, of why they fell in love in the first place. A sweet theater treat just in time for Valentine’s Day. (BKP: 4/5)

Review by Managing Editor Brigid K. Presecky

“You only get one prom.” 

“You get as many proms as you want. Let's make tonight prom.”

What if we could travel back in time? Filmmakers have brought that concept to life many times. Faded photographs remind us what we were doing and who we were when we were doing it, but if you could go back, would you? 

Thirty-something “Liz” (Camp) and “Drew” (Chatwin) just might. On the brink of their breakup, the married couple find themselves in a fancy hotel the same evening as a Senior Prom after-party, including sadsack “Bea,” (Isabelle Fahrman) who just got dumped, along with her childhood friend/yearbook photographer “Andy,” (Kyle Allen). 

The high schoolers’ blossoming relationship unknowingly throws salt in the wounds of Liz and Drew’s imploding union. He spent too much time working abroad, even cheating while “they were on a break.” (Where have we heard this before?) She didn’t appreciate the time he spent at home … and so on.

What makes 1 Night standout amongst the sea of independent films chock full of unhappiness is the outlook on growing up and holding onto hope even it feels like it’s vanished as quickly as youth. 

Baig communicates a clear message: it’s natural to look back on life and think things were simpler back in the day when, in reality, maybe it wasn’t. Maybe the 18-year-old versions of ourselves were crying in the bathroom after a school dance or trying to anxiously figure out what comes next. It’s okay to want to go back and tell ourselves to not worry so much. An idea that is timeless, really.

All four players engage viewers in their vastly different acting styles, but Allen is a highlight as young Andy, perfectly playing the insecure, adorable photographer. He carries around an outdated camera; “a relic of how things used to be,” he says. This film, too, is a reminder of how things used to be in cinema. 

Sean Giddings score gives viewers a nostalgic feeling of both times-gone-by and the awaiting future. Despite tonal shifts between humorous chit chat and fantastical proclamations is a sweet story, quietly told with heart and humor. At one point, Liz and Drew sit in an empty movie theater and reminisce about the early days of their romance. “You always wanted to see these movies that no one ever heard of,” Drew says. Liz smiles, “I like underdogs.” Thanks to Minhal Baig, so do I.

© Brigid K. Presecky (02/09/17) FF2 Media

Top and Bottom Photos: Justin Chatwin and Anna Camp as married couple “Drew” and “Liz”

Middle Photo: Isabelle Fahrman and Kyle Allen as young couple “Bea” and “Andy”

Photo Credits: Canosa Productions

Q: Does 1 Night pass the Bechdel-Wallace test?

Yes!

Feeling like she let her youth pass her by, “Liz” (Anna Camp) gives unwarranted advice to 18-year-old “Bea” (Isabelle Fahrman) in the hotel bathroom. It’s brief, but poignant.

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A UNITED KINGDOM

Opens this Friday (2/10/17) in NYC. Review coming soon!

 

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I AM JANE DOE

Opens this Friday (2/10/17) in NYC. Review coming soon!

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KEDI

Kedi takes the Internet's fascination with cat gifs and videos to an extreme level, following the stray cats that inhabit the streets of Istanbul and become quiet allies to its residents. (GEP: 3.5/5)

Review by Social Media Manager Georgiana E. Presecky

Montages of cats of all sizes, ages and colors wandering the streets are depicted in this documentary, directed by Istanbul native Ceyda Turon. The director wrote in a letter to the film’s audience, “I wanted to explore philosophical themes that would make an audience ponder about our relationship to cats, to nature, to each other.” But with most documentaries, the human angle is ultimately the most important. These men, women and children have a connection to the cats that have become part of their culture - they're part of what make this place home, love them or hate them (but there's no hate here, refreshingly).

While the filmmakers do their best to keep the audience engaged, this is unmistakably a film for cat lovers. If you ooh and ahh and how adorable these animals are, Kedi is a moving story about how animals can assimilate to the lives of humans and become an important part of their narrative. Each cat has a unique background and identity that is memorable and well-told - almost well enough to make you forget that, yes, this is a movie about cats. Only cats.

If you're not a fan of four-legged fare, the documentary is at the very least a scenic look at Istanbul, its customs and inhabitants. Turon manages to tell the story of a variety of people through feline eyes.  The film harkens back to the memorable 2014 Disney short film, Feast, in which a man’s adult life is portrayed from the point of view of his beloved dog. Turon’s documentary is essentially a prolonged version of that, but from a variety of cats who have made a playground of a vast urban setting.

When the cats' journey starts to venture into the boring, the viewer is given time to ponder how difficult a film this was to make - getting down on the level of a small creature, entering its world and seeing an entire city through its eyes? Not an easy feat.

© Georgiana E. Presecky FF2 Media (2/12/17)

Photos: Cats in the streets of Istanbul.

Photo Credits: Termite Films

Q: Does Kedi pass the Bechdel-Wallace test?

No.

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RUNNING WILD

When widow Stella Davis is left with a sea of debt, she enlists the help of convicts to rehabilitate a herd of wild horses and bring life back to her ranch. Sharon Stone stars as the greedy activist opposite Dorian Brown in this feel-good, sometimes preachy Running Wild. (BKP: 3.5/5)

Review by Managing Editor Brigid K. Presecky

Genre labels can be easily applied feature films: action/adventure, romantic comedy, drama. With Wild, a cable television channel, rather than a genre, comes to mind: Hallmark. If you view first-time writer Christina Moore and Brian Rudnick’s film through that lens, this morality lesson with a beautiful view will make you want to save a horse just to spite Sharon Stone.

When “Stella Davis” (Brown) hears there’s been an accident via a man walking into her house and saying, “There’s been an accident,” (accompanied by an unnecessary flashback of a truck driving into a tree) she’s left without a husband and a hefty debt for her horse ranch. To make matters worse, Stella and handsome ranch-hand, “Brannon Bratt” (Jason Lewis) happen upon wild, weak horses scavenging for food and water. “It’s illegal [to help them],” Bratt warns. But Stella has been doing what people tell her to do all her life and she’s tired of it.

Now, her mission is to rehabilitate the wild horses and save her ranch, just as her strong female ancestors had done four generations prior.

Brannon has an idea: convicts. A busload of non-violent offenders walk off a bus and get to work, training the animals and, in turn, rehabilitating themselves. Tommy Flanagan heads the pack of redeemable convicts who form a strong bond with Stella over the course of 90 days. The obvious irony is actually beautiful; as these free horses are now confined, these confined people are now free.

The opposition comes into play in the form of Sharon Stone, playing a non-so-genuine activist for free horses, “Meredith Parish.” Stella better set the wild horses free: or else (.... we aren’t really sure). She plays a typical, but believable antagonist to Brown’s strong, lovable leading role. 

Writer Christina Moore (who plays a small part as Parish’s younger sister) layers Running Wild with multiple conflicts, from the initial death of Stella’s husband and the rehabilitation of the animals to activists protests and Brannon’s heartbreaking backstory. The film, shot in the beautiful landscape of Napa, California, almost feels like it was based off of a novel and condensed to fit a different medium. Maybe that’s a positive attribute, when the audience can picture this story continuing, page after page. When they can imagine future stories in this world, the writer has done their job well.

For either the horse-loving community or those unfamiliar with ranch operations, this personal project is a heartwarming, if at times amateur, treat for the soul. A message about trying to help the helpless? Nothing wrong with that.

© Brigid K. Presecky (02/10/17) FF2 Media

Top Photo: Jason Lewis as ranch-hand “Brannon Bratt”

Middle Photo: Dorian Brown as widowed ranch owner “Stella Davis”

Bottom Photo: Writer Christina Moore and Sharon Stone as the Parish sisters

Photo Credits: ESX Entertainment/SONY Pictures Home Entertainment

Q: Does Running Wild pass the Bechdel-Wallace test?

With flying colors!

A highlight of Moore’s film is just how much the film passes the Bechdel-Wallace test. In the wake of her husband’s death, Stella is left to save her ranch from financial implosion as well as saving wild horses and fending of threats. Brown is engaging from the start and a fitting leading lady opposite Sharon Stone.

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SEX DOLL

Written and directed by Sylvie Verheyde, Sex Doll is surprising in its poignant and raw take on modern day romance. Set in London, the film follows “Virginie” (Hafsia Herzi), a high class call girl, as she begins to question her life and career when a handsome stranger, “Rupert” (Ash Stymest), enters her life and turns the world she’s known on its head. (JEP: 4/5)

Review by Executive Editor Jessica E. Perry

“Virginie” (Hafsia Herzi) is a prominent member of London’s world of high class call girls. Her apartment is spectacular, her clothes are glamourous, but she has fallen into routine, seemingly dissatisfied in her line of work. Does anyone besides her loyal four-legged companion truly know her? Her family back in France believes the story she’s crafted as a hard-working Estate Agent. Her best friend “Electre” (Lindsay Karamoh) is a hairdresser who talks boys and clubs, blissfully unaware that Virginie spends her days pleasuring men who have paid quite a sum for her time.

One night while out at a club, Electre meets handsome bad boy “Rupert” (Ash Stymest). They make small talk, but Rupert has eyes for Virginie who dances by herself across the club. He offers to drive the girls home, dropping Electre off first. Rupert speeds away, Virginie in the passenger seat, as Electre is once again overshadowed by her beautiful, uninhibited, wild friend.

But Virginie, no matter how seemingly free, believes herself to be toxic to others. She finds herself expressing these truths to Rupert, overwhelmed by his probing, and the reality of her life as she feeds him her rehearsed “Estate Agent” story. But Rupert has secrets of his own, his true intentions blurred as we learn things about him that remain hidden to Virginie.

Rupert works to rescue trafficked underage girls, and his initial interest in Virginie is getting access to her world. But when their paths continue to cross, they both wrestle with their growing feelings for one another and their obligation to their respective lines of work. A tangled web is woven as obstacles are thrown up at every turn.

Don’t let the film’s title keep you from giving it a fair chance, as Sylvie Verheyde’s Sex Doll is a quiet force that may just surprise you. Verheyde successfully balances her provocative subject matter with a more grounded narrative thread in this dramatic thriller. Cesar Award-winner Hafsia Herzi perhaps unsurprisingly stuns as Virginie. However, she is successfully matched by Ash Stymest as Rupert, who gives a commendable performance in his film debut. While Sex Doll may be a unique take on the modern love story, audiences root for Rupert and Virginie even as they are confined by their circumstances, delving further and further into the dark world of London’s call girl society.

©Jessica E. Perry FF2 Media (2/12/17)

Top Photo:“Virginie” (Hafsia Herzi) leaves a client.

Middle Photo: “Rupert” (Ash Stymest), “Electre” (Lindsay Karamoh), and Virginie leave the club.

Bottom Photo: Rupert and Virginie drive together.

Photo Credits: IFC Midnight

Q: Does Sex Doll pass the Bechdel-Wallace Test?

Yes.

Sex Doll boasts unique and original female characters who share numerous conversations together.  In particular, Virginie and her madam, “Raphäelle” (Karole Rocher), share numerous, and pointed, conversations about responsibility, work, and the threat of it all falling apart.

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SPEED SISTERS

In this fast-paced documentary, director Amber Fares gets up close and personal with the members of the Speed Sisters, the first all female car racing team in the Arab world, as they struggle with their identities as women, Muslims, athletes, and Palestinians. (EML: 3/5)

Review by FF2 Associate Eliana M. Levenson

Meet the Speed Sisters, the first women’s only team in Middle Eastern car racing. The women, who race as individuals but train as a group, all come from varying backgrounds within the Palestinian landscape and come together for their love of racing. As they race throughout the year, they are in direct competition with each other as only the two top female racers are given spots to represent Palestine at the race in Jordan.

Marah has always loved racing, even stealing her mother’s car as a kid to drive around neighborhood kids. Raised in a supportive, but religious family, Marah is the reigning champion and is consistently a top competitor. Despite her talents, Marah is incredibly type-A and, when Betty beats her despite a rule violation, Marah decides to sit out the next race, disqualifying her from competing in Jordan.

Betty, Marah’s main competition, is Brazilian born and Palestinian raised, straddling both a Latina and Palestinian identity. Unlike the other women, Betty sees herself not just as a car racer but as a brand. She isn’t interested in hiding her femininity, despite her place in a “man’s” sport and works hard on her public image. However, her behavior and self-confidence can cause her to be at odds with other women and often get her into trouble.

Noor is an athlete through and through, trying everything until she landed on racing as her main passion. Though she often doesn’t place as well in competition, her fierce focus and desire to improve makes her someone to watch for the future.

Mona seems the least dedicated of the group, especially when she admits that if her fiance made her choose between racing and him, she would chose him. Still, Mona is an aggressive competitor and a dedicated member of the team, supporting the other women and working with them to push the boundaries of what women can do.

Lastly, there is Maysoon the team captain and the driving force behind the Speed Sisters. Intelligent and well-spoken, Maysoon is dedicated to keeping the women together as a team and feels it is important for them to continue to change how people view women in the Arab World. Still, Maysoon is a pragmatist, and while she resists their situation when she can, she is also happy to pick her battles which some of the women don’t agree with.

Structured around their race schedule, Speed Sisters takes the audience on a journey through the ups and downs of each of the women’s lives, both in and out of racing. Each of the women struggles against the traditionalism of the Arab culture and the expectations set upon them as women in a male-dominated society. While most people seem to be accepting of the women racing, the women still find themselves trying to balance their female identity with their “male” occupation.  

One of the most interesting aspects of the documentary is the difference in what racing looks like. Unlike Nascar, which boasts souped up, branded, exclusive and expensive vehicles, the women are responsible for providing their own vehicle, often piecing them together from things they find in junkyards. Furthermore, rather than an specific racing track, the races take place on regular streets, with simple cones added for maneuvers. The lack of glamour adds a grittiness to the sport, however, and enhances the overall understanding of the women’s experience in Palestine.

Heartbreaking and raw at times, Speed Sisters does not shy away from addressing the tense political climate that these women face living in the West Bank. Addressing the women’s experiences and concerns with military occupation at times is uncomfortable, especially as they often represent a narrow and one-sided view of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. While their experiences are important and should not be negated, there are moments when the documentary seems to steer toward an anti-Israel agenda by completely disregarding the other half of the equation. This makes the film difficult to stomach at times, and has the Israeli supporter in the audience wanting to yell at the screen the perspective of the other side. Still, Speed Sisters does a good job of balancing the politics with the racing, and there is definite value in hearing, however biased, a differing opinion on the occupation that may not always be given a voice.

Overall, Speed Sisters provides an exclusive look at a world that is often left in the dark. While the stories are interesting, the narrative style feels stale and doesn’t keep the audience as engaged as the concept would suggest. Though the political, personal, and athletic are well-balanced, there is a lack of depth to all of the narratives, leaving the audience with only a surface understanding of all three aspects.

© Eliana M. Levenson FF2 Media (2/9/16)

Top Photo: Poster for the documentary, Speed Sisters, directed by Amber Fares.

Middle Photo: Maysoon in the center, sporting her business blazer, with her team surrounding her, decked out in racing gear.

Bottom Photo: The Speed Sisters in their racing gear showing solidarity and strength as the only all female team in Middle Eastern car racing.

Photo Credits: First Run Features

Q: Does Speed Sisters pass the Bechdel-Wallace Test?

Absolutely!

Speed Sisters is the epitome of a girl power movie! In fact, it’s rare for men to even speak at all, except for a few beats of their fathers. The film focuses on the relationships between the women and the women’s relationships to their situation in Palestine, which means that they are almost always speaking to each other and not usually about men.

In fact, one of the most intense scenes comes when Maysoon, Noor, Mona and Betty are discussing Marah’s choice not to race in one of the Jordan qualifying rounds. This scene is a great example of female dynamics, especially in a competitive field that has almost nothing to do with men, since they are technically only competing against one another.

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THE LURE

The Lure is Polish director Agnieszka Smoczyńska’s debut feature-length film. Originally named órki dancingu, which literally translates as “Daughters of the Dance Club”, this horror musical film is about two mermaids, “Silver” (Marta Mazurek) and “Gold” (Michaline Olszanska) who become fascinated with their new lifestyle as humans. They join a family of musicians and explore the world humans live in whilst performing at an adult entertainment club. However, the choice between staying a mermaid and becoming a human begins to create a divide between the sisters, who cannot live without one another. (KIZJ: 3.5/5)

Review by FF2 Intern Katusha Jin

The movie begins with “Gold” (Michaline Olszanska) and “Silver” (Marta Mazurek) in the waters, observing a family of three humans on land singing, dancing, and strumming a guitar. The singing family entrances the two mermaids and curiosity forces them to reveal themselves.

They get taken into the foreign world of adult entertainment where their mermaid identity is exposed, and the “House Manager” (Zygmunt Malanowicz) decides to take them in as performers. They are brought out to buy new clothes and shoes and the shopping mall breaks into dance and upbeat pop music as the mermaids first see the human world outside of the club during the day. The two seductive and fresh young girls are exploited as performers alongside the “Nightclub Singer” (Kinga Preis), the “Bass Player” (Jakub Gierszal), and the “Drummer” (Andrzej Konopka). Everyone around them is dumbstruck and fascinated by their presence and they too enjoy the attention.

Gradually, an attraction between the Bass Player and Silver begins to form and Gold becomes worried about Silver falling in love with him. The divide between the two sisters grows stronger as the more invested Silver becomes in the bass player, the closer she seems to becoming human. Gold, on the other hand, deviates further and further away from being human and begins seducing and eating her human victims.

Gold sings about her worries directly to the camera as she freezes time in the world around her and gently caresses the humans in a devious manner. Soon after, “King Triton” (Marcin Kowalcyzyk) informs her that, should Silver fall in love with a human and the human marry another person instead, Silver would turn into sea foam by the next sunrise. Eventually, because the Bass Player refuses to recognize her as more than a fish, Silver sacrifices her tail in exchange for real human legs, believing that what she had found was true love. Nevertheless, the loss of her voice and a failed, painful sexual experience with the Bass Player seemed to bring his apparent love for her to an end.

This film must be watched with an open mind and the suspension of disbelief. It has moments of excitement, hope, realization, and growth. And the elements of humor in combination with an exaggerated script and serious execution, often left the auditorium ringing with laughter. Although the highly stylized 80’s world of the film may seem puzzling, the story is about the coming of age and growth of individuals in a foreign world. It showed the first smoke, first drink, first love, first heartbreak and many other firsts of the mermaids. Director Agnieszka Smoczyńska pulls at our heartstrings as we are dragged through a very blunt coming-of-age story, where the curiosity and desire for new experiences can be met with disappointment and loss.

Although this is not a film for everyone, I would strongly encourage people to try to watch at least a part of it. Watching The Lure with its colorful, experimental visuals, is in itself an experience worth trying.

©Katusha Jin FF2 Media (2/8/17)

Top Photo: The Lure poster.

Middle Photo: Gold singing about her worries.

Bottom Photo: Gold and Silver performing with the Nightclub Singer.

Photo Credits: Robert Palka

Does The Lure pass the Bechdel-Wallace test?

Yes, but only just.

A lady who works at the nightclub encourages Silver to smoke her first cigarette.

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SOPHIE AND THE RISING SUN (2016)

Directed by Maggie Greenwald, Sophie and the Rising Sun is a wartime melodrama that meets interracial romance. Set in the fall of 1941, in the days leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor, a Southern white woman, “Sophie” (Julianne Nicholson), and a mysterious Japanese man, “Grover” (Takashi Yamaguchi), fall in love in a small fishing village in South Carolina. Racism, bigotry, and repressive societal norms prevent the two from pursuing each other. (KKK: 3.5/5)

Review by FF2 Intern Kimi K. Kumar

When “Grover Ohta” (Takashi Yamaguchi) ends up in a small town beaten to pieces, an open-minded widower, “Anne” (in a phenomenal performance by Margot Martindale) rescues him to care for and shelter in her garden house. The African American housekeeper immediately decides to quit because there is no way she will wait on a “yellow foreigner.”

She is replaced by “Salome” (Lorraine Toussaint), the other mysterious character in the film. Grover proves himself to be the idyllic, mystery guy who not only expertly tends to Anne’s garden, but also knows how to read poetry and loves to paint, much to Anne’s surprise. Anne takes a liking to him as he is well mannered and an adept gardener, just like her deceased husband.

However, “Sophie” (Julianne Nicholson), in her 40s and unmarried, also takes a liking to the foreigner, but knows better than to share her admiration for Grover with the town ladies. Sophie and Grover’s bond deepens, as they paint by the water together. They become the gossip of the town, and the gossip of the moralistic “Ruth” (Diane Ladd). However, when Pearl Harbor occurs, naturally, Grover becomes the target of violence again. Anne, fearing for his safety, hides him in her fishing cabin and conjures up a town lie that he has been put on a bus to Canada. However, when Anne breaks her ankle, she realizes she cannot efficaciously look out for him anymore.

Maggie Greenwald brings Sophie and the Rising Sun to the screen at the right time for viewers, in a nod to female solidarity. She handles the severely rooted racism in the disguise of patriotism. Cinematographer Wolfgang Held beautifully drives the narrative forward through soft, willowy locations. He adds tenderness to the film where the script lacks it. However, the true stars of the film, Martindale and Toussaint, bring richness to their characters through their performances.

Although the plot points feel a little bluntly tied together, Greenwald’s intentions of delivering a period piece in light of prejudice shines through. Her writing abilities give way to the strongest asset of Sophie and the Rising Sun, which are solid female relationships.

© Kimi K. Kumar (2/10/17) FF2 Media

Top Photo: Margot Martindale and Julianne Nicholson as “Anne” and “Sophie” gardening together.

Middle Photo: Takashi Yamaguchi as “Grover Ohta” taking a stroll down the fishing village.

Bottom Photo: Sophie and Grover in love.

Photo Credits: Monterey Media

Q: Does Sophie and the Rising Sun pass the Bechdel-Wallace Test?

Yes, it definitely does.

The movie is a strong female-led cast with characters such as Anne and Sophie discussing the war taking place or Anne and Ruth discussing other women in society, specifically Sophie.

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THIS IS EVERYTHING: GIGI GORGEOUS

Renowned documentarian Barbara Kopple teams up with Youtube star Gigi Gorgeous to bring Gigi’s gender transition to the screen. From her Youtube channel’s beginnings in makeup tutorial videos, we follow her through surgery and down runways as she seeks to find, and be, herself. (GPG: 3.5/5)

Review by FF2 Contributor Giorgi Plys-Garzotto

Much of This is Everything was actually shot by Gigi herself, either as part of her Youtube presence or for personal documentation of her transition. Gigi is a charismatic narrator, and her personality makes every moment of the story interesting and fun. It feels as though we are at her side as she deals with the difficult, weird, and often hilarious moments of transition—highlights include Gigi flashing her manager with her new breast implants, and figuring out how to put on a bra in a Victoria’s Secret stall. It’s all what a film critic may be tempted to describe as a “romp,” which is heartening to see when trans stories are so often tragic—but that same upbeat tone also raises some questions.

The way Gigi’s transition follows the archetypical, mainstream version of a trans woman’s story is reminiscent, in ways good and bad, of Caitlyn Jenner’s story—Gigi even mentions Caitlyn Jenner as someone she wishes had been around when she was growing up. On one hand, the pre-packaged narratives both these women make use of in telling their stories are often helpful in gaining acceptance from people who struggle to understand what it means to be transgender. On the other, rhetoric like describing a trans woman as “a woman trapped in a man’s body” is widely considered an outdated way to talk about being trans. Caitlyn Jenner is also a Republican, meaning her interests are aligned with only a percentage of the wider queer community. 1%, to be exact.

Which brings me to the other commonality between Gigi and Caitlyn: substantial wealth. Gigi’s money, mentioned at one point as a seven-figure income, makes the expensive process of gender transition easy for her. This difference between her and the vast, vast majority of trans women is only mentioned once, in passing. And
the differences don’t end there: while Gigi’s difficulties with her family are covered, only her father is shown having any trouble understanding Gigi’s transition, and that plotline is resolved by the middle of the movie. This is sadly very different from the typical family’s response. We also only see Gigi experience transphobia in the outside world once, at the very end of the film, when she is denied entry to Dubai. Since their oppression makes trans women one of the populations most at risk for mental illness, suicide, and death by homicide, Gigi’s luck seems impossible—though perhaps it’s not so impossible, if you have a seven-figure income.

That’s not all. Transgender women are at grave risk of violence from men they date, but the brief romance we see Gigi get into is nothing but puppy love, and afterward her only commentary is about how she will try to be more independent in her next relationship, a very mainstream dating concern which does not scratch the surface of the difficulties trans women face in the dating world. While we see vitriolic Youtube comments from before Gigi comes out, we don’t see any from afterward—are we, as the audience, expected to believe a woman has been a presence on the internet for years, without getting any hate mail? 

I personally found it very strange that Barbara Kopple chose to paint such a rosy picture of transition in this film when she’s known for her focus on social justice. At this point, it’s all but impossible not to come to the conclusion that Gigi’s depiction of her life has been framed, as most selfies are, from the most flattering angle possible. Gigi’s story is like a fairy-tale princess version of the trans experience, complete with the fantastical dresses and neatly wrapped up ending. This is by no means bad or unenjoyable, but if you’re looking for a realistic documentary about what it’s like to be trans in America, This is Everything probably will not satisfy.

© Giorgi Plys-Garzotto FF2 Media (2/5/17)

Top Photo: GiGi Gorgeous... Gorgeous!!!

Middle Photo: Gigi Gorgeous.

Bottom Photo: Gigi and her family.

Photo credit: SelectNext

Q: Does This is Everything pass the Bechdel test?

 Yes!

Tiffany, a female friend of Gigi’s, is often with her onscreen, and she and Gigi talk about Gigi’s transition.

 

Incredible accomplishment! Years of footage artfully compressed into tight narrative that speaks passionately on multiple levels. Kudos to filmmaker Barbara Kopple. See This Now! (JLH: 5/5)

Follow links for time, tix & special guest Q&A schedule: http://www.ifccenter.com/films/this-is-everything-gigi-gorgeous/Photo: FF2 Media Editor-in-Chief congratulates filmmaker Barbara Kopple (left) on the NYC premiere of her new doc This Is Everything: GiGi Gorgeous. 

Photo Credit: Richard Bayard Miller (2/3/17)

PS: Good thing I decided not to wear any make-up. This is a laughing thru tears experience!

Q: Does This Is Everything: GiGi Gorgeous pass the Bechdel-Wallace Test?

Absolutely!

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