Entertainment has always served two purposes, to entertain and to educate. It cases of social commentary, education through entertainment proves to be a valuable tool. In the new short film Reflecting Adrianne the filmmakers capture what the struggle may look like for transgender youth.
It’s a subject that’s getting a lot of media attention in current news cycles, but a lot of the time the issue is misunderstood. It’s a complex issue for those involved to comprehend, and our quick to judge culture is not helping. It’s a big responsibility, but when filmmakers like Ree James Merrill and M.R. Angelo take on a heavy topic to make a film about it, the ease in comprehension is appreciated.
In Reflecting Adrianne, the audience is introduced to Adrian, a pre-teen struggling with his desire to match his inner self, a beautiful statuesque blonde named Adrianne, by wearing his mother’s lipstick. The fighting of his parents in the background immediately acknowledges that this is not a situation young Adrian enters into lightly. From the first scene the struggle to accept and understand his true self is at the forefront.
The dynamic between Adrianne and Adrian as we pass through time become relatable. Most people have an inner monologue that they “talk with,” one they bounce ideas off of and who keeps them in check in most situations. The decision to express this in the version of a woman helps to explain the transgender issue with delicacy. The suppression Adrian struggles with isn’t seen as a choice, instead it’s shown as an emotional battle of one’s self at their core.
We all understand, on some level, what it feels like to suppress some aspect of our personality because of other’s influence. This hinderance never ends well, and “Reflecting Adrianne” allows the audience to see what happens when one is pushed to the limits of their fraudulent behavior. It’s a circumstance that is not taken lightly, with an emotional climax close behind.
The message behind the story wouldn’t be as effective if it wasn’t for the two leads, Merrill as Adrianne and Derek Wade as Adrian. The contrasting personalities they both share show just how tortuous this can be on one’s psyche. They represent the two sides to one person, and their connection to the character goes beyond their matching clothing. The choice to not fall into stereotypes of an individual and instead focus on the personality traits proves most effective in relaying the importance of this message.
Reflecting Adrianne, while an intimate look at a complicated issue, this film does not decipher the misconceptions. Instead, it opens the dialogue between viewers and helps open the pathways to understanding. For a film to tackle such a heavy subject, it’s more than we could have asked for.
Reflecting Adrianne is now available on Vimeo on Demand. Click the link to view the film.
Written by Lisa Mejia
Images provided by Sabrina Levine PR