Coming Attractions,  Documentary Film Review,  entertainment,  Film Festivals,  Film Reviews

Every Body is Unapologetic Look at Intersex Community

Director Julie Cohen has never backed down from a cinematic challenge so why should she stop now.  Produced by Focus Features, Every Body is told through the stories of three intersex individuals who set aside medical advice to keep their bodies a secret and instead came out as their authentic selves.

River Gallo, Alicia Roth Wiegel and Saifa Wall are not monsters. They just happen to be three of the estimated 1.7% in our global population that were born with intersex traits.  What does that mean? Let me break it down for you.  Each human being is born with 46 chromosomes with XY = male and XX = woman.  A person born intersex is born either born with no womb or ovaries and/or with internet testes inside their body.  When this occurs, which is rare, .07% have intersex traits so significant, that they may be referred for surgery – which equals up to 230,000 Americans. If those numbers are higher than you thought, it’s because intersex people are often told to stay quiet about their bodies.

In the past the term  ‘hermaphrodite’ would be used to define these individuals, particularly by medical professionals like Dr. John Money.  Every Body unapologetically highlights Money’s work and books on the subject of encouraging patients and their parents to reassign sex at birth not only by gender, but through surgical procedure.  David Reimer aka Brenda was one of his patients whose story was picked up by major trades in the 90’s.  Shown through archival footage, the pain and mental torture this took on Reimer was unbearable to witness and even more heartbreaking for him to live as he took his life by suicide in 2004.

The beauty of this film is that it breaks down with medical support that the ideology swirling around there are only two genders is now mythical and probably has always been just that.

Needless to say the subject os this film have been anything but silent on this matter. River, Alicia and Saifa were bold and brave enough to come out with their stories in hopes of helping others embrace what is unique.  Not only do we see how being intersex affects the children, but how the parents are inadvertently touched emotionally.  What was wrong with them that their child was born this way?  Should I reject or embrace my baby for who he, she or they are?  Wiegel’s mom being a medical nurse had more understanding than most, which has allowed her to thrive as a major political voice. Remember that ‘bathroom bill?’ Wiegel was the person who introduced the now infamous piece of legislation which now allow gender neutral bathrooms.  River’s mom may not necessarily understand, but bathes her child with love and both River and Saifa have become voices  in the struggle for equality in the LGBTQIA community.

With such heavy subject matter, Cohen’s choice of soundtrack ranging from Lizzo’ “Good as Hell’ to Springsteen’s ‘Born to Run’ lightens things up from time to time while infusing matching energy of  the subject matter. As the film begins and ends this impactful story with gender reveal celebrations and a little frolicking at the tail end, one thing is for certain.  Moving forward, one should never judge a book by its cover, because how the story unfolds makes for the best part.  Julie Cohen has taken the torch of sharing stories from all women to another level and thank goodness.

I love, love love movies, watching them and discussing them...thus the birth of The Curvy Film Critic!!! Host/Producer/FilmCritic,Carla Renata is a member of such esteemed organizations as Critics Choice Association (Co-President Documentary Branch), African American Film Critics Association, Online Association of Female Film Critics and Alliance of Women Film Journalists. My op-eds or features have been seen in VARIETY,, Maltin on Movies, The Cherry Picks, IGN Movies, as well as being a frequent Guest Contributor to Fox 11-LA, Good Day LA, ET Live!, Turner Classic Movies, KCRW Press Play with Madeline Brand, The Cherry Picks, The Stream Team (Beond TV) ITV, Fox Soul's The Black Report, The ListTV and more. Catch my reviews on The Curvy Critic with Carla Renata - LIVE!!! Sundays 5pm PST via You Tube or Facebook Live. If you like what you read please shout me out and subscribe to The Curvy Critic on YouTube. You can chat with me across all social media platforms @TheCurvyCritic and as always, thanks for supporting a sista'

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: