Basically: A trans-girl has her first experience with love during her senior year in high school, but love is difficult even when you aren’t trans.
Kelsa (Eva Reign) is a girl starting her senior year in Pittsburgh. She’s got it all, great friends, a great mother, and a plan for after graduation. Everything but boys, well, that’s another story. Until she meets Khal (Abubakr Ali), a boy in her art class who develops a crush on her. The crush is complicated by the fact Kelsa is trans and while she is accepted at her school, having a boyfriend is an entirely different matter.
Anything’s Possible is wonderful in its ability to tell a trans love story without it being a TRANS love story. Because, let’s be honest, often trans love stories are told with more heartbreak than joy. So, seeing a sweet teen love blossom was a breath of fresh air. Not saying there isn’t some drama—every good love story needs drama—it’s just not traumatic drama. It’s teen drama, it’s friend drama, and perhaps a tiny bit of trans drama. All in all, a nice sweet teen love story.
Anything’s Possible is as much of a love story about two teens, as it is about the director Billy Porter’s love of Pittsburgh. The backdrop of this amazing city is 80s-style cute and bright and fun to look at. This version of the city is a perfect setting for summer love and it offers lovely places for our teens to explore. Porter’s love is not misplaced and it makes me want to make a trip up to one of my favorite bakeries and explore new places while I’m there.
This is a great summer teen movie: summer love, good songs, cute fashion, and a little drama. It is cute, it just isn’t for everyone. Sadly, I think a lot of adults won’t get it or will pass it off as bubblegum theater. What they won’t understand is Anything’s Possible is about teenagers who are trying to make their first true adult decisions. It is about kids who are spreading their wings in so many ways. It is about moving forward into a world that may have very different ideas for you than what you have planned for yourself. It is about living a life that is authentic to you… Lots of us old people have long since moved past that part of our lives and have forgotten how scary and wonderful it can be.
Again, it is a sweet movie. I found myself smiling very often and rooting for the characters. The directing is solid, the background is charming…but I do have a couple of issues and, sadly, those issues are pretty big. The first issue is the thinness of the story. Yes, this is a love story but when you introduce Kelsa’s friends in the very first scene we expect more than just a passing glance at their lives. There are small sub-plots but they are so distant and most of them are resolved off-screen—that was just a disappointment. This film was in desperate need of a healthy subplot, one that engages the great supporting cast.
My second, and much larger, issue is that when Reign’s acting falls flat, it is at the worst possible time. There are times when the pacing of her lines is stilted, there are moments when she is out-acted by her co-stars. For example, during a scene where she had an argument with her boyfriend, instead of feeling her desperation and anger I felt like she was reading lines. Later when she had an argument with her mother (Renée Elise Goldsberry) the emotion was so baseline it was hard to watch. It was so frustrating because there were other scenes where she was a delight! BUT those moments where I really needed her to transport me into her world, she just didn’t do it.
In the End: If you’re streaming a movie with your teen, you could do SO much worse than Anything’s Possible—you’ll find yourself smiling more than once.