A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Gender Revolution encourages viewers to take a critical view of media messages by presenting clips from shows like Transparent and The Brady Bunch as well as news footage and shots of magazine and newspaper articles dealing with gender. Terms like "cisgender," "intersex" are explicitly defined for viewers.
Positive Role Models
Couric treats the people she interviews and their problems with respect, and dignity; they aren't mocked or belittled. Their issues are examined insightfully and with compassion, and a wide range of people tell their stories straightforwardly.
Violence & Scariness
A brief reference to a famous case of gender reassignment that wound up in the patient committing suicide; scary statistics about how common suicide is amongst trans young people are repeated. A patient receiving genital surgery is draped but we see various fluids dripping and being siphoned away, as well as sharp instruments and medical devices. Victims of hate crimes talk briefly about, but don't describe, how they were victimized.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Sex and biology are frankly discussed: how babies are conceived and developed, how genitalia develops in the womb, what the genitals of intersex people look like. Body parts are described but not pictured (we don't see any naked people).
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Products & Purchases
Couric asks Siri (the iPhone virtual assistant) for definition of words like "transgender" and "intersex." Videos from YouTube and Facebook and Tinder posts show the sites' logos.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Gender Revolution is a documentary about gender identity. Katie Couric interviews a wide range of people who identify as transgender (or have loved ones that do), and treats their problems with compassion and empathy. Biology and sex are frankly discussed: how babies are conceived and developed, how genitalia develops in the womb, what the genitals of intersex people look like. Body parts are described but we don't see any naked people. No strong language, but interviewees use anatomical words for body parts frequently. Rape, murder, and suicide are referred to, but not described or dwelt on at length. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Incisive and moving, Couric's documentary about gender issues and identity introduces the uninitiated to new concepts and controversies. What does "cisgender" mean? What is "gender fluid?" How can young children know that their internal gender isn't the same as what people see on the outside? Is it ethical to surgically "correct" the genitals of children born intersex at birth, or should children be allowed to choose themselves? Couric, who frankly admits that she was born in a time when the controversy of the day was gender roles instead of gender identity, visits with dozens of interviewees who have answers to these and other questions.
This is the point at which sympathetic viewers may find themselves tearing up listening to an intersex man describe the life-long damage that was caused by being raised as a girl, or the isolation and agony a long-married trans woman describes before she broke down and told her wife that she was really Kate, not Bill. Couric has a way of gently asking the very questions that might occur to skeptical viewers: Why are pronouns important? How do the parents of trans teens know they're not just going through a phase? Why does it matter what bathroom someone uses? Given the chance to confront the prejudices they experience every day, the interviewees answer honestly, relieved not just to answer, but that the questions are being asked at all. They are seen. They are heard. As one college-aged trans man sighs in a way that seems to sum up Gender Revolution's POV, "Change is coming. And it's a relief."
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.