(director: Billy Porter; screenwriter: Ximena García Lecuona; cinematographer: Andrei Bowden Schwartz; editor: Hanna Park; music: Leo Nirenberg; cast: Eva Reign (Kelsa), Abubakr Ali (Khal), Courtnee Carter (Em), Simone Joy Jones (Megan), Naveen Paddock (Arwin), Grant Reynolds (Otis), Noah Pacht (Chance), Renée Elise Goldsberry (Selene), Manu Narayan (Sasan), Billy Hartung (Mr. Wallace), Michelle Do (Elf girlfriend), Kelly Lamor Wilson (Chris); Runtime: 96; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Christine Vachon, David Hinojosa, Andrew Lauren, D.J. Gugenheim; Killer Films/Amazon Prime; 2022)
“Raises the issues of the rights of trans and the acceptance of their love affairs.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The actor and singer Billy Porter’ debut film is a gentle Gen Z coming of age trans love story among high school students. The rom-com is adeptly written by Ximena García Lecuona, who makes the lead characters likeable. The writer presents a trans romance that is almost never screened in mainstream movies. But more such films should be made to clue the public in that things are changing for the better with more diversity.
On her You Tube vlog the high school senior from Pittsburgh, the bright Black trans girl Kelsa (Eva Reign) enters chats and talks about her love for animals, fashion and openly about her personal issues. Kelsa’s loving mother (Renée Elise Goldsberry) supports her, but fears that her transness will define her or victimize her.
Kelsa meets in her school the sensitive teenage artist, Khal (Abubakr Ali), and a cautious romance develops even though her bestie, Em (Courtnee Carter), is also hot for the handsome Khal. He makes a hit with Kelsa when he follows his brother Arwin’s (Naveen Paddock) suggestion and gives her during lunch, in front of Em, a bunch of beautiful handpicked wildflowers, an act which upsets the jealous Em.
The film has a problem in how to handle this romance: like making it impactful or believable or not contrived, and its insistence on checking-all-the-boxes regarding trans issues before every plot twist is artificial. “AP” never determines how far out it wants to go with its unconventional love story, therefore the lovers might act natural (good acting) but their romance seems awkward and uncertain. In the end, you get the feeling the filmmaker wants you to believe its just another regular teen love tale even if it’s not.
Kelsa is obsessed with defining things and seems to tells us the film’s theme is to realize that “every animal and every person has their own survival mechanism.” There’s no argument there.
In any case, Anythings Possible raises the issues of the rights of trans and the acceptance of their love affairs. Whatever faults it has, the film is a positive experience.
REVIEWED ON 7/24/2022 GRADE: B-