The Weinstein Company has released a new trailer for About Ray (formerly Three Generations) a family drama starring Elle Fanning as Ray, a teenager who realizes he was born in the body of the wrong gender and makes the decision to transition from female to male. The film also stars Naomi Watts as Ray’s supportive single mother, Susan Sarandon as Ray’s baffled grandmother, and Tate Donovan as his estranged father.
There concept is rife with potential for domestic drama, as three generations struggle with their sense of identity in the confines of a single home. I’m particularly intrigued by how they’ll address the lesbian grandmother’s confusion over Ray’s identity and I hope they don’t brush it off by making Sarandon the cooky old-lady comic relief. Even within the LGBT community, there’s a sense of “otherness” for those who identify differently. That’s a fascinating reality that hasn’t much been explored in film. Check out the About Ray trailer for yourself below.
The premise is intriguing, and certainly en vogue given how transgender issues have shot into the spotlight over the last couple years thanks to progressive programming like Orange is the New Black and Transparent, and of course due to Caitlyn Jenner‘s graceful public transition. Speaking more generally, It’s stunning to look at how far queer cinema has come in the last decade, and what that says about how we’re progressing as a culture. Before Netflix, you really needed an eclectic and diverse local video store to find any “gay movies”, after Netflix the options were greatly increased, but it was essentially a cache of a few independent favorites, now with the help of pioneering performances in films like Philadelphia, Brokeback Mountain, and Transamerica — to name a very few — it’s fairly for household name actors to take on LGBTQIA roles in films that actually get distributed.
That says good things about the industry, despite the fact that a recent study proved diversity is still staggeringly low, but mostly it says we’re changing as an audience, becoming more progressive and accepting. Because, as we all know, Hollywood is a business and movies are made to make money. Coming up, we’ve got Freeheld, Carol, Addicted to Fresno and The Danish Girl — and that’s just off the top of my head. If there wasn’t an audience for it, there wouldn’t be a trend, and we certainly wouldn’t see a movie like About Ray starring three generations of famous, acclaimed actresses in a story about gender identity.
Here’s the official About Ray synopsis:
ABOUT RAY tells the stirring and touching story of three generations of a family living under one roof in New York as they must deal with the life-changing transformation by one that ultimately affects them all. Ray (Elle Fanning) is a teenager who has come to the realization that she isn’t meant to be a girl and has decided to transition from female to male. 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.