BY DANICA BRYANT
LGBTQ+ icon Billy Porter’s directorial debut, Anything’s Possible, is a joyous celebration of the transgender experience, and the life of the 21st-century teen. Premiering on Prime Video, its mainstream release and content accessibility is an unmistakably exciting step forward for rainbow representation. But even outside of the social work Anything’s Possible undergoes, this film as simply a film is an absolute triumph.
Anything’s Possible follows the life of Kelsa, an aspiring zoologist and teen fashionista played by the charismatic Eva Reign. Kelsa’s recent gender transition has complicated her high school experience, ruling out any idea of romance, until she meets the quiet, artistic Khal. The pair quickly realize their feelings for one another, and rom-com antics naturally ensue.
It’s a treacherous path for Kelsa and Khal alike, as they figure out how to handle Kelsa’s identity in a way that’s celebratory and accepting, without constantly focusing on the fact that she is different. Their romance is beautifully realized. Actors Eva Reign and Abubakr Ali share an undeniable chemistry, playing up a loveable awkwardness from both characters that grounds their connection in goofy humour and adorably youthful interactions. It’s not hard to see why the two fall for one another. Kelsa has an unmissable eye for style, always adorned in eye-catching outfits that steal every scene she’s in, and her happy-go-lucky attitude plays perfectly off Khal’s quieter kindness, charisma, and eye for design.
Unfortunately, Anything’s Possible’s first half hour can be extremely disorientating for viewers. It moves at a breakneck pace, introducing many characters and sending them careening into highly dramatic events, without much time to get to know any of them. Kelsa’s close friends Chris and Em lack development, and their feelings and backgrounds often feel under-explained. Moreover, the quirky slang, social media integration and bright American high school visuals initially feel like an attempt to recreate any generic modern teen movie, coming across as highly unnatural and turbulent.
But beyond these less inspired thirty minutes, the film transforms. When Kelsa and Khal’s connection starts interfering with their social and familial lives, the story becomes one of high drama, still grounded in sincere emotion. Whilst some story beats are noticeably underdeveloped, the main plotline of their relationship is tight, expressive and well-written. School gossip quickly spirals, crafting a relatable tale crucially intertwined with the transgender experience. Anything’s Possible absolutely knows how important it is, as one of the first major streaming films to star a trans character. It wields this power carefully and effectively. Although promoted as a romance film between the two leads, this is really a breathless character study into Kelsa, one of the most complex and exciting teen characters in recent cinema. By the film’s close, viewers will be sitting in awe and delight, having learnt so much about her on this rollercoaster adventure, and perhaps even something about themselves.
Aesthetically, Anything’s Possible also stands out. Each scene is cloaked in bright blues and pinks amongst the idyllic sunshine of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The bright pop soundtrack of the film gives each scene a simmering energy. It also highlights LGBT+ artists like Kim Petras and SOPHIE, a further loving nod to the rainbow community. Once it abandons standard teen movie convention and starts carving its own path, as its characters do, Anything’s Possible becomes an inventive, impressive artistic work.
This film is beautiful, acknowledging the trials and tribulations of the trans experience, but always rooting Kelsa’s journey in the often overlooked sheer joy of being LGBT+. Although it’s not without its flaws, it’s worth the time to fall in love with Kelsa and Khal’s love, and to learn the lesson that with tolerance, confidence and courage, anything truly is possible.FOLLOW US...
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