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Anything’s Possible reinvents the YA-romantic comedy that is brimming with empathy.
Written by M.N. Miller / July 22, 2022

Billy Porter's first time behind the camera is a film brimming with empathy and a contagious dose of well-earned temerity. While much of that credit goes to the multifaceted director and a whimsical script from screenwriter Ximena Garcia Lecuona, the role and performance of Eva Reign is a gamechanger. The uber-extremely popular journalist and television personality hold her own in Anything's Possible. She brings out bold confidence in her character that refuses to apologize for who she is and nor should she. As others look down at her audacious confidence in herself.

Reign stars as Keisa, a transgender high school student raised by a single parent (Waves' Renee Elise Goldsberry). Her mother has raised her trans daughter to resist others' shame. Keisa is confident, strong, and has been brought up to have a powerful sense of self. All while remaining steadfast in her focus on her future. That's until she meets Khal (Abubakar Ali). He is a young man from a prideful family who want to see him go to law school. However, Khal intends to be an artist. When he talks to Keisa, a spark ignites. He then wrestles with the idea of starting a relationship with her. Why? He comes from a conservative family and friends that could endanger his support system.

There is palpable chemistry between Reign and Ali here. This young adult romantic comedy is the equivalent of a warm embrace that is not afraid to be unique. Yet you will still get the music montage or two that is standard in the genre. However, that may be the point of Porter's film. Here, what is the same is like new again. Porter uses the backdrop of his hometown of Pittsburgh, a city with a rust-belt history that has reinvented itself with its progressive economy. A once-steel city now known as an innovation hub. This is a natural choice to highlight the reinvention of the YA movie relationship. Imagine a rust belt city that is now new again. This parallels with the brave spin Porter and Lecuona place here in the standard storytelling genre.

This is a delightful film and pairing, as both stand up to transphobia from their closest friends. While Keisa carries the film, and Ali brings a surprising amount of magnetism and charisma, Hamilton's Goldsberry steals every scene she is in here. Beautiful, supportive, caring, and most importantly, authentic as a mother who stands with her daughter and her identity at all costs. In reality, a disproportionate amount of LGBTG+ teens become who become classified as runaway youth because of a lack of support from their parents. This is when this role is powerfully effective simply because of the nurturing sensitivity. While I know her turn will receive little attention for awards consideration, it should.

Anything's Possible reinvents the young-adult romantic comedy with its progressive attitude that also doubles as a love letter to a city that did the same for itself. While the film has its standard tropes, they are done well. While the film may be a tad naïve regarding acceptance in today's world, there is no reason to reach for aspirations that outweigh faith in our fellow human beings. When you combine these, along with the performances by Reign, Ali, and Goldsberry, and the lovely chemistry between everyone involved, Billy Porter's film is an unexpected and refreshing change of pace.



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