I have always regarded Elle Fanning as the youthful essence of cinematic femininity (check out The Beguiled or Somewhere) but in 3 Generations she depicts a teen-age girl who for reasons of her own wants to transition into a boy. (The film was originally entitled About Ray).
Director Gaby Dellal says she got the original idea for the film from a man who was moving furniture for her sister. “I said, ‘How are you?’ and he said, ‘It’s been a tricky day today because my daughter’s just told me she wants to become my son,” the director told NYLON magazine. ” I had never come across any transgender people at that point, not directly, and so I was fascinated. Not only was he open, he was very adjusted by it…. He was so proud of his child and so positive about him, and that’s what really inspired me.”
3 Generations also explores the effect of Ray’s decision on the adults around her, including her single mom (Naomi Watts) and grandmother (Susan Sarandon).
Ms. Dellal defends her choice of casting Ms. Fanning in the title role (“I’m so proud of her characterization and her enormous amount of work and sensitivity to the character that she was playing …. NYLON) but the UK-based filmmaker told VANITY FAIR’s online newsletter HWD DAILY that if she was making 3 Generations now (the film bowed at Cannes in 2015 but was probably shot much earlier) she would have cast a trans actor in the lead role.
3 Generations is not without its flaws (scoring 47 out of 100 on Metacritic) but, as Darren Ruecker writes in wegotthiscovered. com the film “will hopefully inspire discussion and reflection among people who may have never been exposed to trans issues, and that alone makes it valuable.”