Entertainment » Movies

Everybody Changes

by Roger Walker-Dack
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Oct 15, 2019
'Everybody Changes'
'Everybody Changes'  

Panamas; official submission for Best Foreign Picture Oscar is Arturo Montenegro's "Everybody Changes," about how a middle-class family survives after the father decides to transition into a woman.

Federico (Arantxa de Juan) is a happily married businessman with a wife and three sons living in a very small Panamanian town. His wife Carol (Gaby Gnazzo) has always known about his penchant for wearing women's clothes, and has supported him by going on a weekly date with him where they are just two girls hanging out and having fun.

However, when Frederico decides he wants to become Lizzie full time, it is too much for Carol to take. She already suffered a blow when Frederica came home one night unexpectedly as Lizzie and was confronted by a surprise party with all of this conservative neighbours in attendance. Now that he insists on going as far as having gender reassignment surgery, Carol throws him out and is left alone to deal with their three sons' anger and bewilderment at their father's new life.

Montenegro's film almost has a documentary feel to it as he details how this conservative Catholic community — which through sheer ignorance is violently transphobic — reacts: They feel that this is a threat to their beliefs and to their very lives. Consequently, Lizzie must be tougher than most; the only support she is likely to get is from her therapist, as even her doctors refuse to help her with her journey.

Lizzie's oldest son is the one that struggles most with his father's decision, and it is a tribute to both the parents that he comes around in the end and does so with tremendous grace.

There is nothing really new about this tale. But it is filled with compassion and understanding for Lizzie. A superbly authentic performance from de Juan makes this film a compelling watch.

Any film like this that makes an important contribution to the continuing dialogue about the transgender community should be added to your 'must see' list and shared as much as possible.

Roger Walker-Dack, a passionate cinephile, is a freelance writer, critic and broadcaster and the author/editor of three blogs. He divides his time between Miami Beach and Provincetown.

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