The Truth of the Everyday Transsexual: A Review of Sean Baker’s TANGERINE

When Andy asked me to write the review on “Tangerine” last night, I initially said “oh, no, not I. I don’t know anything about directors, their previous credits, filming and film technicalities.” Then my good friend next to me said, “do it, I want to hear what you think of the film.” So what follows is what I think, most of it based on personal experiences in the LGBT community for forty-five years and the rest on what ran through my mind as the cast ran the streets of L.A.                 -Lyndee Nelms 8/13/15

What a wild journey we had through L.A. tonight! One would think that with all the airplay transsexuals are getting these days, we’d be used to them. But this was no Jazz or Bruce-cum-Caitlyn Jenner, all fluffed up for mainstream media. This was the real deal–the in-your-face, up-close-and-personal roller coaster that disenfranchised people like Mya/Alexandra and Kitana/Sin-Dee ride most days of their lives. The three iPhone 5’s used to film this Christmas Eve romp put us as close to the action as possible and the spectacular, intense soundtrack made sure we stayed there until the screen went black.

Of all the LGBT’s, the trannies are in the darkest corner of the closet–which makes this movie written and directed by Sean Baker all the more rare and daring in the grand scheme of things. I love that he thinks it stands a chance in Middle America but seriously, I don’t think we’re quite there yet. I especially appreciated his casting of actual transsexuals in the lead roles after having to cringe through years of straight actors trying to act LGBT.

I think the most important thing about this film endeavor is that it puts the truth of the everyday transsexual out there for general consumption. It really is a short, difficult life, full of fear, anger, betrayal, rejection, and self-destruction, culminating all too often in suicide. But there is also the razor-sharp wit and humor that Baker chose to highlight in Tangerine and that’s what makes life on the edge tolerable for us all.

After 88 minutes on Baker’s roller coaster, I felt more than a little wobbly to rejoin my fellow movie club members–like we hit the wall but hey, we’re still alive. Imagine that.

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The Truth of the Everyday Transsexual: A Review of Sean Baker’s TANGERINE

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