The latest trailer for the upcoming film 3 Generations has been released recently. A transgender teenager, Ray (Elle Fanning), lives with his mother (Naomi Watts) and his lesbian grandmother (Susan Sarandon). The film is set to explore Ray’s decision to medically transition, and the struggles he faces, in particular, his birth-father refusing to sign a release form saying Ray can begin hormone treatment.
First of all, it’s great to see some of Hollywood’s biggest doing new stories, and to see money being invested into looking at different perspectives. It’s also good to see LGBT people, from all different generations, portrayed, and there is set to be three strong female leads in the film. However, the transgender teenage boy is played by Elle Fanning, a cis-gender girl. This is poor casting choice by director Gaby Dellal, when Ray could have been played by a real transgender boy. Transgender actors already struggle to secure roles, and it seems unnecessary and thoughtless to give this role, perfect for a transgender actor, to a cis-gendered one.
There has already been some debate, when the film was initially announced under the title ‘About Ray’, surrounding the director’s knowledge of the LGBT community and transgender experience. Dellal has been noted to mis-gender Ray in interviews, and this film could end up being a damaging representation for the transgender community, instead of a positive one. Even in this brief trailer, characters use the incorrect pro-noun of ‘she’ when referring to Ray, but hopefully these are ‘intended slips’ which will be corrected as the characters gain a better understanding.
Perhaps it is just the way the trailer has been edited, but it looks to be a feel-good, light-hearted family drama. It feels airy, like a film feeding a cultural fascination with transgender people, rather than a hard-hitting portrayal of the individual struggles transgender people face. For the sake of the transgender community, I hope this film does more good than it does damage, but we will have to wait and see.
There is no release date for Australia as of yet. Check out the trailer below: