mtl Movie Reviews by The Dove Foundation
Runtime: 95 minutes
Starring: Angourie Rice, Justin Smith, Lucas Jade Zumann, Jacob Batalon, Owen Teague
Director: Michael Sucsy
Sex: Kissing between male and female teens as well as between two female characters
Language: Language includes "s--t," "bitch," "d--k," and more
Drugs: Teens are drinking at parties, mainly without consequences
A shy teenager falls for someone who transforms into another person every day.
This film originated from a New York Times bestseller by the same title, a young adult fantasy romance by David Levithan. The novel has been highly acclaimed as an eye-opener for teens to consider gender issues, especially as it relates to identity by presenting the idea that our personhood is not dependent on our gender. It is hailed as a point of reference for having compassion around transgenderism in particular.
The female lead, Rhiannon (Angourie Rice) is a sweet and believable teen who is in love with her emotionally distant boyfriend Justin (Justice Smith). She is forced to confront his neglect when she discovers another love interest named “A” that first presents himself/herself (the gender is never clear) in Justin’s body as attentive and loving. She is surprised as she continues to confront this same persona showing up in other people’s bodies. She is confused by these encounters until she discovers the truth: “A” is taking on a new form every 24 hours and finding her in order to maintain their connection.
The film is supposed to be a twist on the traditional teen love story of self-discovery with an added morality lesson about how personality and personhood are spiritual constructs, not located to a body in particular. The notion of a spirit as part of one’s person is consistent with Christian theology, but in Christianity, the spirit is, indeed, associated with one’s body. It does raise interesting questions about gender, such as whether gender is located only with the body, or does gender transcend the body to the spirit of a person, especially considering we are created in the image of God, who is neither male nor female, but is spirit.
This film has raised provocative conversations among the young adult crowd as a result of these issues, especially as they are cloaked in an appealing teen love story that is well-acted and engaging. I was hard-pressed to become invested in the actual connection between Rhiannon and “A,” however, as it was difficult to accept “A” being located in a different body every day, which, indeed, discounts the notion that our body is part of who we are. Therefore, the love between them was a challenging concept to grasp, especially as she became physical with each character, including women, in the form of kissing.
The final choice the two make to part ways, so she can have a normal future that includes things only a body can produce, such as children, and avoid the moral confusion of connecting with adult bodies later in life who might be owned by people who are married, is only mildly emotional. “A,” aside from taking over people’s bodies and creating confusion for them, as they are left with hazy memories or a complete loss of chunks of time, does manage to save a young girl’s life as a result, and plays an integral role in Rhiannon finding lasting love with one person.
Though this movie deals with important issues that touch on suicide, mental illness, diversity, and tolerance, we are unable to award this film the Dove Seal of Approval due to sexuality, smoking, swearing, provocative narrative content, and risky behavior.
Not Dove Family Approved
← Back to Movie Listings | © The Dove Foundation – All Rights Reserved