Director Maris Curran switches from fiction to documentary in Jeannette, capturing the life of Jeanette Feliciano, a personal trainer. Feliciano wears fatigue patterned athletic clothing. She wears this as the instructor of a gym class. After the gruelling session, she hugs the gym members, some of them crying bittersweet tears, others just happy.
This isn’t just any other class though, as Feliciano organizes it for herself and fellow survivors of the Pulse Massacre. This documentary, then, is about how she deals with that trauma through different ways. She knows that this might not be the last obstacle in her life.
That cloud hanging over Jeannette starts pouring in the literal sense. Pulse happened a year before Jeannette started filming, presumably, and during filming, Hurricane Maria hits her family in Puerto Rico. This documentary, on the surface, feels like a small portrait of one person within the 2LGBT+ community.
However, Jeannette shows that even individual members of any community are part of big historical moments. Feliciano is like many of her generation who are Puerto Ricans in the mainland. She has to return home to care for her relatives who feel the immediate effects of the hurricane.
Jeannette shows us aesthetics that feel like too much of a mix for it to be 100% congruent. It also needed more time to capture one of Feliciano’s key relationships. Although yes, it’s understandable why some people in her life can’t share the screen with her.
Nonetheless, it’s a beautiful thing to see a less toxic version of bodybuilding culture within the 2LGBT+ community. And within that community is this strong lesbian. One who transforms herself from someone going through anxiety to someone literally reclaiming a stage. “Life is like a rollercoaster,” Feliciano says, and you should hear what she says after.
Find out how to watch Jeannette here.