Adolescent Transition

Whilst awareness of the transgender community has progressed extensively in recent years, Shaleece Haas’ documentary, Real Boy, illustrates the private battle that remains for the families involved through Bennett Wallace’s story. Introduced at the age of 19, Ben is recovering from an adolescence plagued by self-harm and drug abuse and has just begun taking testosterone. Over three years the lm follows his transition through his relationships with his transgender friends Dylan and Joe, their families and, most poignantly, his mother Suzy.

The chronology is not always clear but the light- handed touch of Haas and Editor Andrew Gersh creates an important distinction whereby Real Boy documents, rather than tells, Ben’s story. A budding musician, Ben’s music plays a minor role but provides a poignant insight into his journey, especially at the film’s closing scene showing that his and Suzy’s relationship has found its new groove. This film provides heart-warming insight into the continuous battle for understanding undergone by the trans community.

Real Boy by Shaleece Haas is available for home entertainment from Peccadillo Pictures.

Ruby Beesley

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1. Still from Real Boy.