Evaluation: Luminous performances elevate trans romance ‘Port Authority’


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Endorsed by Martin Scorsese, in the form of an executive producer name, New York-set troubled romance “Port Authority, ” from writer-director Danielle Lessovitz, can be drenched in atmospheric soundscapes and kinetic imagery. What lacks in uniqueness of concept, it makes up for within evocative implementation of the moderate.

Fresh off the bus from Pittsburgh, down the wrong path young buck Paul ( Fionn Whitehead ) meets Lee (McCaul Lombardi), a homophobic advisor who offers him protection and work evicting tenants. As the circles of people in precarious housing situations overlap, Paul comes in contact with a group of Dark queer youths and quickly begins courting Wye ( Leyna Bloom ), a striking trans woman.

The particular film’s first act hinges on Paul’s ignorance about the diversity of experiences within the LGBTQ+ community. Whitehead (known meant for his part in “Dunkirk”) plays a gentle macho man wrestling with his ingrained bigotry and a curiosity that will draws him to the celebratory and defiant voguing culture. Bloom’s matter-of-fact confidence performs off Whitehead’s childlike stress in a pair of quietly incandescent performances.


Lessovitz’s screenplay traverses a clear-cut binary between the hyper-masculinity of Paul’s white male friends as well as the chosen family Wye introduces him to. The separate is admittedly convenient for your drama but does patently exhibit Paul’s inner discord. Wye has already reckoned with the world to defend her life and wants no component in the deceit Paul guitar strings to hide her truth plus love her in half measures. A small but potent picture sees Wye making her voice heard even as the deafening train tries to block it out.

Rewardingly, Lessovitz favors growth over tragedy, the welcome change as tales about the trans community so frequently fixate on the brutality perpetrated on them. As such, “Port Authority” fits in the expanded spectrum of trans representation that recent works like Isabel Sandoval’s “Lingua Franca” or the hit series “Pose” have helped forge.

Although centering Paul (a cisgender, straight, white male) might read as a disservice, the filmmaker never puts the responsibility of his self-discovery on the Black individuals close to him. His plight is to internalize that he is getting into a space that doesn’t are part of him, where his “white boy realness” is a sideshow, not the center stage of Wye’s ball.

‘Port Authority’

Not Rated

Running time: 1 hour, 41 moments

Playing: Starts Might 28, Arena Cinelounge, Showmanship; also available at Laemmle Virtual Cinema