Billy Porter Makes His Directorial Debut With Teen Trans Love Story ‘Anything Is Possible’



Rated PG-13. On Amazon Prime.

Category B

What happens when a cisgender young man (i.e. someone whose sense of identity matches his birth gender) at a presumably advanced Pittsburgh high school dates a classmate from trans class? You’ll find the answer in the John Hughes-style Gen Z coming-of-age rom-com “Anything’s Possible,” an Amazon Prime flick directed by Carnegie Mellon graduate and Billy Porter. Pittsburgh (“Pose”), making his directorial debut.

“Anything’s Possible” is the story of teenage black trans girl Kelsa (Eva Reign) and cisgender boy of Muslim-Persian descent Khal (Abubakr Ali), whose romance is causing serious and not-so-serious problems for the inside and outside the high school they attend named River Point. Kelsa, who loves animals and has an encyclopedic knowledge of them, lives with her divorced mother (Renee Elise Goldsberry), who is a doctor. Kelsa has taken blockers and hormones and is creating social media videos about the animals she loves, including one that changes gender.

Khal has a crown of black hair and lives with his conservative parents and brother Arwin (Naveen Paddock). Khal worries about what his parents and others will think if he declares his interest in Kelsa. One of his friends, for example, told him, “Kelsa is a guy, man. and angrily adds, “Are you gay?” The scene in art class in which Khal and Kelsa paint portraits of each other is a nice touch.

But too much of the movie is preachy, and the plot takes a turn for the worse when Kelsa mistakenly believes Khal is really interested in her best friend Em (Courtnee Carter), which causes huge convoluted and contrived problems. It’s a twist that comes across as much more stereotypical than the characters themselves. With insight beyond her years, Kelsa also worries about appearing “self-satisfied.”

  • Eva Reign, left, stars as Kelsa and Abubakr Ali as Khal in Billy Porter’s directorial debut ‘ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE’. Orion Picture, Photo Credit: Tony Rivetti) © 2022 Orion Releasing LLC. All rights reserved.

  • Renee Elise Goldsberry stars as Selene in Billy Porter's film...

    Renee Elise Goldsberry stars as Selene in Billy Porter’s directorial debut, “ANYTHING’S POSSIBLE.” (Orion Pictures, Photo Credit: Tony Rivetti) © 2022 Orion Releasing LLC. All rights reserved.

I know everyone does comedy in high school. But in “Anything’s Possible”, it’s exhausting. At no high school I’ve ever seen, no one dresses like the characters from “Anything’s Possible.” The clothes, which sometimes suggest Stella McCartney Kids meets Ringling Bros., are a constant distraction. Porter and her costume designer Analucia McGorty (“Pose”) and hairstylist Molly Dagnal (“A League of Their Own”) pulled out all the stops for clothes and hairstyles, and I wondered how long it would take these kids to prepare to go to school.

Newcomer Reign and Goldsberry (“Hamilton”) have great mother-daughter chemistry, even though they don’t share any resemblances. Ximena Garcia Lecuona’s screenplay presents a somewhat cloaked image of being a trans woman in an environment like Pittsburgh. In one scene, Kelsa and Khal kiss on the lawn of Kelsa’s prosperous suburban home. Pittsburgh tourist attractions such as the Phipps Conservatory and the Andy Warhol Museum are used as both sets and showcases. Yes, that was a Billy Porter mural you just saw. Talk about complacency.

Screenwriter Lecuona was inspired by a story he saw on Reddit about a boy who was romantically interested in a trans girl. “Anything’s Possible” is inclusive offspring.

“Anything’s Possible” contains mature themes, suggestive material, and teenage drinking.

About Victoria Rothstein

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