Transphobia (One Scene of Bullying but mostly misgendering)
Ray (Elle Fanning) | Maggie (Naomi Watts) | Dolly (Susan Sarandon)
Characters & Storyline
Since Ray was 4 he knew he was born in the wrong body. Now 12 years
later, after a lot of therapy, and dealing with his feminist grandma
trying to convince him perhaps he was just a butch lesbian, it is time.
However, in order to transition to becoming a male it requires not just
his mom signing off on the various paperwork, which would include
getting testosterone, but also the father he hasn't seen in almost a
Your daughter is becoming your son, you live with your two moms and the
one who is your biological mom seems to make snide comments about your
life all the time. It's a bit much to handle and no amount of books can
really prep or help. But life happens and despite how uncomfortable
things are, you have to learn to adapt right? If you don't it could
negatively affect your child and at the end of the day, that's who
matters the most right?
A Different Perspective
Whether it is I Am Jazz, Redefining Realness, Star, Orange is the New
Black, Gun Hill Road, Tangerine, Paris is Burning or countless other
media out there, more often than not the focus is masculine assigned
persons transitioning to women. Rarely is there anything about someone
transitioning the other direction, outside of the various roles Elliot
Fletcher (who pretty much corners that market) has played, that
character on House of Lies, and Cole on The Fosters. Be it because less
of an eye is bat when someone assigned a girl transitions to a boy, or
because there isn't the same curiosity and ability to sensationalize.
Either way, it was nice to get a taste, just a taste mind you, of the
issues FTM trans people go through. Be it boys who misgender you and
bully you for it, girls who you have feelings for not seeing you for
the man you are, your family adjusting and maybe some of them even
feeling betrayed you'd leave the ranks of womanhood to become a man,
much less your parents coming to terms with the change.
A part of me wishes that Sarandon's character was raising Ray as
opposed to Maggie. If only because, as noted below, Maggie's drama
almost seems like it wants to compete for attention and eclipse the
movie's central topic. But it isn't just because of Maggie's drama I'd
prefer Sarandon playing the parental role but also because Dolly, her
character, brings something different to the complicated matter of a
family member transitioning. She is the one which helps push the
difference which comes from dealing with an MTF transitioning person
vs. an FTM. Also, she is basically the comic relief but without making
herself, or rather the character, a joke in the process.
Parents play a major role when it comes to the lives of trans people.
They are perhaps one of the most important figures in finding
acceptance and of course learning what it means to be a man or women.
But the problem here with Maggie is as the movie tries to craft a life
for Maggie it adds all this eye-roll inducing drama in terms of Ray's
father and her relationship with him. Which, at first, you're OK with
since we are invited into these characters' lives while they are in
their late teens, in Ray's case, and likely the 40s of Maggie. However,
slowly but surely, it seems like Maggie wasn't there to share focus
with Ray's or even have her story-line support Ray's. At a certain
point, it seemed like Maggie's story-line was competing with Ray's for
prominence and it was more about Maggie's troubled relationship than
her son trying to complete their transition and start a new life.
Overall: Mixed (Home Viewing)
You know how most MTF movies solely feature that character, their
relationships with people, and tries to disillusion the viewer on their
experience. Yeah, this movie kind of does that but then focuses too
much on the mom and her drama, her relationships, to the point it makes
it so while you may have watched this movie to learn about Ray, you end
up learning a hell of a lot more about Maggie. Which would have been
fine if that was how this was marketed, and maybe why the title was
changed to Three Generations, but no one cares about Maggie. Maggie's
story is tired and old. Which is why this is being labeled Mixed (Home
Viewing) because you come for Ray, to learn about his life and what it
is like to be a young man transitioning, which we don't really see
except in supporting characters. Yet, instead, get another story about
a privileged white woman trying to avoid responsibility and making
things about her.