Fourteen-year-old non-binary teenager J lives in the suburbs of Chicago. Unsure of their gender identity, J uses the pronoun “they” and has been taking hormone blockers to postpone the onset of puberty. Unfortunately, after a visit to their doctor, J learns that the hormones are starting to have concerning effects on their health. After two years of therapy and treatment, J has reached a turning point: they must decide whether or not to continue on their hormone treatment and what path to take with their gender identity. As they face these decisions, J’s sister Lauren (Nicole Coffineau) and Lauren’s boyfriend, Azaz (Koohyar Hosseini), arrive to look after J while their parents are out of town for a long weekend.
With They, her first feature which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, Iranian-born filmmaker Anahita Ghazvinizadeh crafts a beguiling, thoughtful drama that sensitively explores a unique turning point in a teenager’s self-realization. Straying from the melodrama and heartache that often accompany coming-of-age films, Ghazvinizadeh uses a dreamlike visual style to highlight the rich, naturalistic performances of her cast. In a truly remarkable film debut, actor Rhys Fehrenbacher delivers a memorable and hypnotic performance as J, commanding the screen while navigating their life, identity, and future. With a quiet, simple beauty, They takes a refreshingly nonjudgmental look at family and growing up.
— JOE BOWMAN
LYRIC (Lavender Youth Recreation & Information Center) / Gender Spectrum
- Language: In English and Farsi with English subtitles