A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this documentary closely follows Chaz Bono as he undergoes sex-change surgery to transition from a woman to a man. There are detailed descriptions of the medical procedures, as well as many conversations about the emotional implications of the process. There's no drinking or drugs, but people talk about their pasts as drug and alcohol addicts. There is some nonsexual nudity and a few discussions about how a couple's sex life has been affected by hormone supplements.
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What's the story?
Born to famous parents (Sonny and Cher) as a girl, Chaz Bono spent years navigating his personal, emotional, and sexual identity, finally deciding to undergo surgery and become a man. This documentary tracks Chaz as he makes his transition -- a journey that's mountainous, confounding, and complex -- alongside his girlfriend, friends, and family. It's a journey replete with many highs and lows, and one we share here.
Is it any good?
How to best tell a complicated story: straightforwardly and honestly, as Chaz Bono does in this inspiring documentary. Though his parents were in the limelight -- Cher, especially -- the film wisely keeps the focus on Chaz, whose willingness to allow us audience into his past and present struggles lends the film power and weight. Friends and family, too, speak with refreshing candor.
The filmmakers eschew any hint of sensationalism, even when poring over Chaz's history of drug use that's been chronicled in many tabloids and his relationship with his celebrity mother -- smart move given how complex the subject matter already is. Chaz's story is one of self-discovery, struggle, and love, of coming to terms with whom one wants to be and how to make it happen. BECOMING CHAZ is a triumph.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the reason this documentary was produced. What does Chaz have to gain or lose by documenting this intense event on camera? Who else stands to gain by the distribution of this film? What are some of the challenges this film might face against critics?
How does this documentary treat transgendered people? Did you learn anything about transgendered people by watching? Did any of your opinions shift?
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