A Touching Film, An Important Story
Changing the Conversation
3Generations is a film starring Elle Fanning, Naomi Watts, Susan Sarandon and Linda Edmond and its subject is one that we need now more than ever. Elle Fanning plays Ray, a young man who has known most of his life that he identifies as a boy in spite of being born in the body of a girl. Certain of himself, Ray is in the process of undergoing gender reassignment surgery with the support of his mother, grandmother and his grandmother’s life partner. The film explores the fears, the unknowns, the truth, family, love, acceptance and intolerance that accompany gender reassignment surgery in a way that’s thoughtful and candid. It’s a subject that will open your eyes and your heart because it gives you the perspective of both the parent and the young adult certain of his identity. It’s heartbreaking, hopeful and incredibly thoughtful as the story is told from two perspectives.
Now sixteen, the movie opens with Ray, Maggie, Dolly and Frances sitting in a doctors office getting all of the information to move forward with the surgery: taking T pills, changes to the body, etc. The story unfolds as we see the dynamics within the family relationships: Maggie and her mom, Dolly and her moms partner, Frances and then Maggie and Ray. Three generations of women all with their own unique lives living under the same roof. Much like the house they live in that has multiple stories, each staircase represents and indicates the challenges, the obstacles, the relief of finally getting where you’re meant to be, the emotional rollercoaster each character is on, and the union of coming together in spite of differences. While the focus is on Ray and the beautiful ways in which he accepts himself, his journey is one that leads to a multitude of questions about embracing who we are, the struggle he goes through having been born as a girl and never feeling like one, and the effects his life has on those around him. He experiences bullying and rejection while also having love and acceptance. His story is more candid when faced with one obstacle: he has to have his gender reassignment surgery approved by both parents and up until now? He has had no relationship with his father. The search of finding his father to ask for his blessing is an emotional yet invigorating journey.
All the while, his mother Maggie, played so honestly by Naomi Watts, supports his choices but like any parent is worried she may make the wrong decision. Her torment of not knowing exactly what to do makes her question herself. She goes through a gamut of moments forcing her to ask herself why she feels hesitant and now that Ray needs both signatures, she also has to confront her past that she’s conveniently managed to avoid all these years.
Dolly and Frances, played beautifully by Susan Sarandon and Linda Edmond are the couple that drive home the value of balance. Dolly drinks but somehow it’s still socially acceptable and her no-nonsense approach to just about everything is why her character is so important. She wants to support Ray but cautions Maggie not to make a rash decision. Frances, Dolly’s partner acts as the voice of reason reminding Dolly to butt out and trust that Maggie will make the right decision.
The story takes us on a journey told in part by Ray’s iPhone footage and the other half by being an intimate part of their lives including introducing two very crucial additions, Craig (Tate Donovan) and Matthew (Sam Trammell). 3 Generations is an emotional film that keeps everything stripped down and honest through added cinematic elements like filtered lenses allowing the audience to feel the vulnerability of each character. Overall its a film worth seeing and each actress gives a truly notable performance. The film is available on DVD and Blu-Ray tomorrow, June 13th.
3 Generations tells the stirring and touching story of three generations of a family living under one roof in New York as they deal with the life-changing transformation by one that ultimately affects them all. Ray (Elle Fanning) is a teenager who has struggled with the body assigned to him at birth and is determined to start transitioning. His single mother, Maggie (Naomi Watts), must track down Ray’s biological father (Tate Donovan) to get his legal consent to allow Ray’s transition. Dolly (Susan Sarandon), Ray’s lesbian grandmother is having a hard time accepting that she now has a grandson. They must each confront their own identities and learn to embrace change and their strength as a family in order to ultimately find acceptance and understanding.