With the film Anything’s Possible, I was excited because the film has Billy Porter in his debut as a director. Having enjoyed him in his own movies and shows, I was excited to see what he would bring, especially with a story featuring a trans character. Since I believe we need more authentic representation in film and tv, I was hoping the movie would wow me. I loved the main characters; both were authentic, genuine, and had great chemistry. But the film didn’t go into the full depth in the story or secondary characters as I would have liked.
Anything’s Possible is a coming-of-age romantic comedy directed by Billy Porter and written by Ximena Garcia Lecuona. It is a modern coming-of-age story that follows Kelsa (Eva Reign), a confident high school girl who is trans. Kelsa hangs out with her friends, Em (Courtnee Carter) and Kris (Kelly Lamor Wilson) but has little interest in romance. All that changes when her classmate, Khal (Abubakr Ali), gets a crush on her. He musters up the courage to tell her, despite the drama that he knows it will cause. What transpires is a romance that showcases the joy and pain of young love and all the drama that can transpire in high school.
Let me first say that I loved both characters. The writing for Kelsa shows both her confidence but also her struggles. First, she wants to be loved for herself, not because she’s transgender, but ultimately, she must embrace all her sides to give in to the vulnerability that love requires. Second, Khal is genuine as a Muslim boy who sees Kelsa for who she is and likes her even when the pair fight. The chemistry between them is real and awkward, just like any pair falling in love for the first time and navigating the dating world. The struggles they deal with, friends snubbing them, teasing, and for Kelsa, being excluded from the girl’s bathroom are all authentic to some of the many events that can happen to a young trans person. These characters and the writing of some of the reactions of others are what cause the film to shine.
The comedy is primarily situational, emphasizing the awkwardness between Kelsa and Khal as they figure out their feelings and each other. One of Kelsa’s friends, Kris, brings some of the other comedic moments as she is dealing with a breakup and her delivery of humorous lines is fantastic. Some of the comedy is silly but fits the personalities of the characters. Kelsa’s mom, played by Renée Elise Goldsberry, is also funny, protective, and fierce in her desire to help her daughter navigate the world. The humor is light and fitting to the romantic moments.
One of the other aspects I like is that the film doesn’t flinch in portraying difficult moments. Both main characters have friends who treat them differently once they start dating. Kelsa’s friend Em is jealous as she also likes Khal, and she creates a situation where Kelsa is no longer able to use the girl’s bathroom, using safe spaces to exclude Kelsa, much as what happens around the United States. Her mother calls herself a feminist but doesn’t understand why it’s essential to see Kelsa as a female. Khal’s best friend Otis calls him gay for dating Kelsa, and they end up physically fighting. So much of what both teens deal with are situations that happen across the country daily, so the film does a great job of bringing awareness and demonstrating that anything is truly possible.
Eva Reign is confident and brilliant at demonstrating vulnerability as Kelsa. She is also loving and truthful. As Kelsa, she is warm and funny as well. The chemistry between her and Abubakr Ali, who plays Khal, is strong. They have a wonderful rapport and bring a genuine feeling to the romance. Renée Elise Goldsberry, Kelsa’s mother, is joyful, loving, and fiercely protective. She is exactly what every girl would want in a mother. Both Courtnee Carter and Kelly Lamor Wilson are excellent as Em and Kris, Kelsa’s friends. The entire cast does a beautiful job.
Besides the main cast, what feels a bit flat is that the rest of the students in the school seem very cookie cutter. None of them stand out, and they seem to fill in very stereotypical roles, like the class flirt or jock. There doesn’t seem to be any real differentiation between anyone other than Kelsa, Khal, and their immediate friends. Khal’s family is spotlighted very well and is genuine, but the rest of the cast is forgettable. The story also seems short and doesn’t go into as much depth, glossing over the relationship. It feels like the pace is off because while we get the start of the relationship, we don’t really get to experience much beyond that. The resolutions of both the struggle with Kelsa’s friendship with Em and her relationship with Khal seem too quickly over and without as much difficulty as they should.
If you like coming-of-age stories and romance, I think you will like this story about Kelsa. The chemistry between the actors is authentic and genuine, even if the romance moves quicker than I’d like. I like that both actors truly represent the characters. I love the theme of thriving versus surviving and living your true self. I absolutely love the comedy and the obstacles both characters face. While the pace is quicker than I’d like, the ending is still a shining moment.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 flowers
Official Website: Anything’s Possible | Official Website | July 22 2022
ANYTHING’S POSSIBLE is a delightfully modern Gen Z coming-of-age story that follows Kelsa, a confident high school girl who is trans, as she navigates through senior year. When her classmate Khal gets a crush on her, he musters up the courage to ask her out, despite the drama he knows it could cause. What transpires is a romance that showcases the joy, tenderness, and pain of young love.
ANYTHING’S POSSIBLE launches on Amazon Prime Video on Friday, July 22, 2022.
ONE-LINER: A delightfully modern Gen Z coming-of-age story that follows Kelsa, a confident high school girl who is trans, as she navigates through senior year.