I went to see the movie Monica yesterday and I have…thoughts.  It was released back in 2022 but did not make it to American cinemas until May of 2023.  Somehow the movie had slid past my radar or maybe I just forgot about it since it took a while to get to my neighborhood.   I was checking out movies to see now that I am home during the day on Tuesdays, and it took a bit to find out the movie was about a transwoman.   But once I discovered it was about someone in the community, I knew I had to check it out.   

First off, the thing I have to say is OMG   Trace Lysette is a revelation, she is raw, honest, and powerful as an actress. She made the movie and needs to be staring in many more things very soon. I remembered her from transparent, but she was not given the chance to shine like she was here.

Now to the rest, this may seem really strange, but the movie reminded me of the first Michael Bay transformers movie.   If you remember Megan Fox’s character (Mikaela Banes) (and we don’t have time to talk about a director naming a character after themselves) the script seems to tell us that she was smart, brave and knowledgeable about cars but the way the camera lingered on her we were supposed to think pin up model.  That is the impression that the first half of the movie gives us of Monica. We are supposed to follow her and the conflicts she goes through as she returns home to visit her dying mother, but half the shots are of her in skimpy clothes and shot like she is in an adult feature.    The sound mix is also done so that whenever we cut from her doing something with her family to say Monica is getting ready for a date, it is loud and chaotic, jolting us.  Then about three quarters of the way through the movie once she starts to reconnect with her family she is clothed like every other character and shot in a respectful manner with peaceful music.    Now this might be me bringing things to the movie but the idea the film maker seems to be making is that util she forgives her mother, who we later found cast her out due to being trans, then her life was crap.  I understand that the character was dying but the idea that we just need to get over the fact that our families treat us like crap is not one we should be endorsing.

Now that was a lot against the way the film was shot but I still feel it is worth seeing but one you should go into with a knowledge that it has a lot of potential triggers both in content and sensory input.  The good news is that Trace Lysette’s performance is worth getting through it.

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