FIN STREAM REVIEW: Chin-Yee’s film about Billy Tipton far from ordinary

Director Aisling Chin-Yee’s last feature at the festival — The Rest Of Us — rocked me and I had no idea what I was in for.

While I knew the beats of this intricate look at the life of American Jazz musician Billy Tipton, I wasn’t prepared for the emotional resonance that would come with it.

Tipton — assigned a woman at birth — lived his whole life as a man, playing shows and delighting audiences, but when he died, the truth was revealed and the media grabbed hold of the story.

The bravery in how Tipton lived his life is explored — but we are left to wonder just how lonely life was holding this secret in. If we are to believe his wife and children, they never knew.

What a lonely world as a trans man in a time where it could barely be defined. Perhaps most striking is the way the media treated it like a circus. Billy’s family was left answering questions that, truthfully, should never have been asked.

As Chin-Yee uses auditions for the ‘role’ of Billy Tipton to give representation to the struggle and the vast demographic of people who are trans, we see meditations from activists, writers, actors and especially trans men and women on what Billy’s journey means to them.

This is an unbelievable exploration and an intelligent, poignant portrait of a truly beautiful person. This is can’t-miss cinema.

4.5/5 Stars

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