Gender fluidity and family love star in 'About Ray'

Sun Sep 13, 2015 4:32pm EDT
 
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By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO (Reuters) - A teen's struggle over identity is approached with humor as well as gravity in "About Ray," the latest movie to focus on transgender issues as the subject of gender fluidity becomes a prime time debate.

The story revolves around three generations, a lesbian matriarch, a single mother, and a teen who is born female but is determined to become Ray.

"It was all inspired by being a mother, having a family, and being part of a family," director Gaby Dellal told a packed audience at the world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival this weekend.

The film features Susan Sarandon as a stalwart from an older generation raised on sexual, not gender, politics and Naomi Watts as a single mother who just wants her child to be happy.

Elle Fanning, now 17 but 16 during filming, hopes the movie will help society better understand the struggles of transgender youth and help families of trans teens with the changes they must undertake to complete their journey.

"I think people aren't as educated on the topic as they should be. They need to understand exactly what it is," Fanning told Reuters.

"It's not an option, it's actually just who the person is, it's who they are inside, so why would you prevent someone from being who they are?"

Before Ramona can make the physical transition to Ray, her mother, played by Watts, must track down the man whose name appears on the birth certificate to get his consent. But it's not only the male characters that offer resistance.   Continued...

 
Actresses (L-R) Naomi Watts, Susan Sarandon and Elle Fanning attend the premiere of the film "About Ray" at TIFF the Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto, September 12, 2015.    REUTERS/Fred Thornhill