Alexis Arquette: She's My Brother
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Alexis Arquette: She's My Brother

UK, 2007, 70 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Documentary, Gay, Gender, Male-to-Female, Transgender
Programs: Documentary, Showcases
Language: English

DIRECTOR: Matthew Barbato

When Alexis turns the camera on herself for what she announces will be her “last year as a man,” the transition documentary meets the red carpet. For this is Alexis Arquette, member of the acting Arquette clan, which includes sisters Rosanna and Patricia, brother David and sister-in-law Courtney Cox Arquette.
Mixing amazing home movies with film clips from her career and cinema vérité-style footage of Alexis in the present day, the film promises to document Alexis’s transition in every detail. We’re with Alexis as she visits a plastic surgeon who discusses her future vagina. We’re with her at her therapy appointments (a requirement for sex-reassignment surgery, which Alexis vocally resents). We follow her shopping and clubbing. All the while, friends and enemies, from drag queens Jackie Beat and Candy Ass to a US Weekly editor, offer colorful commentary.
But midway through, the film takes some unexpected curves: Phone messages from Alexis chastise the filmmakers for intruding into her private life, and she announces she doesn’t want to be filmed. Some onlookers suggest that she’s never going to go through with the surgery and that it’s all just a publicity stunt. No longer focusing on the technical details of surgery, the documentary allows a portrait to emerge of a charismatic, intelligent, fiercely individual person who’s grappling with her gender identity in the glare of the celebrity spotlight. — MONICA NOLAN


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