3 Generations (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Gaby Dellal|
|Music by||West Dylan Thordson|
|Distributed by||The Weinstein Company|
3 Generations (also marketed in some markets as About Ray) is a 2015 American drama film directed by Gaby Dellal and written by Nikole Beckwith and Dellal. The film stars Elle Fanning, Naomi Watts, Susan Sarandon, Tate Donovan and Sam Trammell. It premiered in the Special Presentations section of the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival, under the title About Ray. The film was released on May 5, 2017, by The Weinstein Company. Teenager Ray (Fanning) realizes and pursues his true identity as male and his mother Maggie (Watts), lesbian grandmother Dolly (Sarandon) and absent father Craig (Donovan) must learn to accept him for who he is.
The film opens with sixteen year old "Ramona" with his mother Maggie, grandmother, and grandmother's partner at the doctor getting final instructions on gender transition. Ray lives with his unmarried mother, who lives with her domineering lesbian mother, Dolly and her partner, Frances. The four live together and they all have trouble with the new gender terms. Dolly thinks it would be easier if Ray would just be a lesbian, while Maggie understands that Ray is a transgender man.
Ray is ready to start testosterone shots and change schools, but he needs written consent from both parents. Ray's father is an absent parent and Maggie is afraid to make such a permanent decision. Maggie locates the 10-year absent father but he wants some time to think. Blaming father Craig's indecision gives Maggie time to stall. On his own, Ray locates his father to find him remarried with 3 children. He also learns that Maggie slept with Craig's brother and "uncle" Matthew might be his real father. Maggie is the reason he never had a father. Ray feels lied to, alone, and as though he will be trapped in a female body forever.
Grandma Dolly decides it is time for the four to have a man in the house. She now supports Ray's transition to a man. Matthew and Maggie talk. Craig signs the consent form after the Maggie signs. Ray finds happiness. The movie ends with everyone out to dinner at a Japanese restaurant.
- Elle Fanning as Ray
- Naomi Watts as Maggie
- Susan Sarandon as Dolly
- Tate Donovan as Craig
- Linda Emond as Frances
- Jordan Carlos as Jake
- Sam Trammell as Matthew
- Maria Dizzia as Sinda
- Tessa Albertson as Spoon
Beckwith and Dellal began working on the screenplay in the fall of 2012, with Beckwith finishing the first draft in the spring of 2013. On October 30, 2014, Elle Fanning, Naomi Watts and Susan Sarandon were announced to have joined the film. On November 18, 2014, Tate Donovan joined the cast. On November 25, 2014, Sam Trammell joined the cast. Filming took place in New York City and Westchester County, New York, over the course of 25 days in November and December 2014. In August 2015, Michael Brook was announced as the composer for the film.
On May 15, 2015, The Weinstein Company acquired distribution rights to the film, then titled Three Generations, in a $6 million deal. In June 2015, the film was announced to be released on September 18, 2015, under the title About Ray. It premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 12, 2015, to lukewarm reviews. Subsequently, the film was pulled from the schedule days before its intended release date. In March 2017, it was announced that the film was scheduled to be released on May 5, 2017, under the title 3 Generations.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 31% based on 42 reviews, and an average rating of 5/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "3 Generations squanders a worthy premise on a thinly written story that focuses on dramatic signposts at the expense of genuine character development." On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating, the film has a score of 47 out of 100, based on 21 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
The film has been the subject of controversy regarding its casting of Fanning, a cisgender female actor, as a trans male character, Ray. In an interview with Refinery29 in 2015, Dellal stated that Ray is a character who has not yet transitioned during the story, saying, "The part is a girl and she is a girl who is presenting in a very ineffectual way as a boy." Dellal's statement led to criticism from the trans community, accusing her of misgendering. In 2017, Dellal denied misgendering and stated that the comment was "misunderstood", saying, "When I did that Refinery29 interview, it was because I was talking about Elle Fanning as an actress, and I kept referring to her as she."
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