A few days ago, movie audiences were treated to the first teaser trailer for the upcoming Marvel blockbuster Thor: Ragnarok, but that’s not what we’re here for (you can check out that trailer review here). I mention the new Chris Hemsworth bicep-movie because its trailer release eclipsed the discussion of another new trailer: Gaby Dellal’s 3 Generations.
Now, 3 Generations is in a weird situation: the film was originally slated to be released on September 18, 2015 under the title About Ray. It debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 12, 2015 before being pulled from the release schedule by its distributor, The Weinstein Company. Since then, director Gaby Dellal has re-edited the film and The Weinstein Company has given it a new release date of May 5, 2017. Anyway, on to the trailer itself…
3 Generations follows Ray (Elle Fanning), a transgender teen, as he begins the transition from female to male. Joining Fanning are Naomi Watts as Ray’s mother and Susan Sarandon as his supportive-but-not-understanding lesbian grandmother. Through the trailer we see Ray struggling with how others see him (“The hardest part of my day is knowing everybody still sees me as a girl”), with his grandmother’s misunderstanding (“Why can’t she just be a lesbian?”), and with his absentee father’s closed-mindedness (“She’s a kid, what if she changes her mind?”). The plot seems straight-forward, so there isn’t much room for a deep dive into that. What will make or break 3 Generations is in how this story is presented.
This is only Dellal’s fourth feature film and first since 2011, pulling in Rotten Tomatoes scores of 22% (Angels Crest), 67% (On a Clear Day), and ‘No Score’ (Tube Tales). Needless to say, her resume isn’t exactly robust, but that’s okay because experience doesn’t necessarily equal success. To help her out she’s got, as the trailer touts, ‘3 of the most acclaimed actors of their generations’ in indie powerhouse Fanning, Oscar nominee Watts, and Oscar winner Sarandon. Let’s be honest, you couldn’t ask for a better lineup for this, or most, movies.
Sounds like a walk in the park, right? Well, maybe not. Reviews for the 2015 version of 3 Generations were less than stellar with many calling out the film for pushing the transgender-teen storyline to the side while turning into a generic familial melodrama. It is worth noting that these reviews were for the 2015 version of the film, which sits at 45% on Rotten Tomatoes. Let’s hope some of these issues were addressed in Dellal’s re-edit.
Overall 3 Generations looks like a generic family drama with an incredibly important story. In the current political climate films like this have the potential to positively impact countless of people, whether it be a struggling teen or a misunderstanding parent, which is why its R-rating from the MPAA is unfortunate. Movies like 3 Generations need to be accessible to young people and luckily The Weinstein Company agrees, which is why they are currently challenging that rating.
Will this be a good movie? Based on the trailer and the previous version, probably not. But I hope it’s at least good enough to get some attention for its message.
What did you think of the trailer? Should 3 Generations be granted a PG-13 rating? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @DylanNoPants.