Awkward Realities: Our Review of ‘Venus’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - May 18, 2018
Awkward Realities: Our Review of ‘Venus’

Eisha Marjara’s movie Venus shows Sid’s (Debargo Sanyal) baby steps as she comes out as a woman. Visually it’s reminiscent of when John Waters would capture Divine doing the simple act of walking down the street. It’s a rebellious act that this new iteration sanitizes though. Baltimore’s tough streets are now Montreal. Too bad.

Venus gives Sid, a Punjab trans woman, one problem after another. Thankfully, it’s not in the sadistic way that we see in popular films. Coming out is a hurdle, becoming more so as her son Ralph (Jamie Meyers) tracks her down. He ingratiates himself into her life, deciding to sleep at her place, and she warms up to him.

Ralph isn’t gonna be the only male in Sid’s life, which is increasingly becoming a clown car. She reconnects with her ex Daniel (Pierre-Yves Cardinal). These reunions look innocent enough, which is fitting for a surprisingly saccharine film. However, the audience knows that one of these guys are not gonna make it through the end.

Another one of the Venus‘ expected B-plots is for the trio to come out. Ralph needs to tell his mother that he found his now-mother. And Daniel, who is straight, needs to be more public about loving a trans woman. Sid is the first to bite the bullet, inviting her parents to her own personal space.

Yes, Venus has its share of cliches. However, it does bring up serious issues in the LGBT community and their inner circles. Sid has made serious strides about being her true self. How does she and those liker her deal with those around them who haven’t? This movie shows her struggles dark realities.

Things get worse for Sid as she has to choose between Ralph and Daniel. Having a closeted alcoholic of an ex is bad enough. However, living with a child without going thorough legal adoption channels is illegal. What ensues are arguments and scenes starting with Sid saying “We going to need to have a talk.”

The movie has noble intentions and Sanyal gives a life-changing performance as Sid. He expresses emotions even as the film gives him bad lighting. That aside, he’s still a cis man playing a trans woman. If other filmmakers can find trans people of colour outside the industry, Marjara has no excuse.

I also don’t want to be an adult picking on a little kid. However, Meyers’ casting has its positive and negative points. It’s a miracle that Marjara found two people from different races resembling each other. There are scenes where his humour comes off as insufferable. These small factors take so much away here.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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