Year:  2020

Director:  Lisa Donato

Rated:  15+

Release:  September 17 – 27, 2020

Running time: 97 minutes

Worth: $17.00
FilmInk rates movies out of $20 — the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

Alexandra Grey, Jackson Robert Scott, Sprague Grayden, Shane West, Ethan Suplee, Franklin Ojeda Smith, Yeardley Smith, Jen Richards

...a treat for the emotions.

It’s 1986 and Young Tate (Jackson Robert Scott, IT) has been uprooted from his life in ‘the city’ to a more – let’s say – close-knit community on the outskirts. Unbeknown to him, this move is a last ditch attempt by his mum and dad, played by Sprague Grayden and Shane West respectively, to salvage what’s left of their marriage.

Things already don’t look good as the two argue openly in front of their son within 24 hours of stepping over the threshold. As his parents tear strips off each other, Tate becomes fascinated with his twenty-something neighbour, Gossamer (Alexandra Grey, Transparent) who lives with her retired father, Edward (Franklin Ojeda Smith) and somewhat dim friend, Jimbo (Ethan Suplee).

Gossamer is a Trans woman and noting this, or at least presuming she’s just a man in a dress, Tate’s father quickly forbids his son from interacting with the neighbours. This being the ‘80s, his demands are laced with homophobia and Tate looks like he’s destined to take on his father’s prejudices. However, Tate’s curiosity gets the better of him and after a disagreement over a skateboard, Gossamer takes him under her wing.

Being a person of colour, as well as a Trans woman, there’s an initial fear that Gossamer Folds could devolve into a white saviour tale or perhaps worst, fetishise its lead to make her the magical answer to all of Tate’s issues. Instead, thanks in part to Grey’s performance, Gossamer is allowed to be her own person in her own story. In one of the strongest scenes, finally alone with her thoughts after a troubling night, Grey manages to convey so much without saying anything. Equally, her relationship with Tate is, quite frankly, adorable to watch as they bond over David Bowie and silver nail varnish. For his part, Robert Scott handles the material well and is thoroughly charming throughout.

Whilst Tate and Gossamer’s relationship grows, director Lisa Donato and screenwriter Bridget Flanery hint at darkness lurking around the peripherals. And it’s here that perhaps the film falters slightly. Over the course of the movie, Gossamer and her friends discuss a series of bashings that are happening in town, whilst she regularly has to contend with her father dead naming and misgendering her. These are day to day occurrences in Gossamer’s life, but the film doesn’t feel as strong as its protagonist does in order to tackle these issues, or at least not successfully. These plot threads just sort of hang in the air without any real closure. Sure, life isn’t really a series of endings that wrap up neatly, but there’s a feeling of wanting from the film’s ending; as if it wasn’t really sure how it wanted to finish. A small shame when everything that came before it is so strong.  That said if your heart is looking to be warmed up this spring, Gossamer Folds is a treat for the emotions.


Leave a Reply