"Let Me Be a Woman" was able to achieve something no other film has been able to do in decades: it shocked the hell out of me; it grossed me out. That is saying a lot because I grew up watching John Waters' movies. Between "Pink Flamingos", "Female Trouble" and "Desperate Living" I thought I'd seen it all. Then I went to a midnight showing of "Multiple Maniacs" (which introduced me to rosary jobs) and THEN I'd felt sure that I'd truly seen it all. What was left?
Up until I queued up this gaping wound and watched it, transfixed on the people on the screen - what they had to say, and moreover, what they had to show. At first, it feels like a John Waters movie, except there isn't much here except pure exploitation and shock, without Divine or Edie.
The film opens up with an interview with a transgendered woman. Five seconds into the interview, I notice she has a big chunk of food lodged between two of her front teeth. That chunk pulled me in and made me watch the entire remainder of the film.
Why didn't anyone tell her she had a big chunk of food in her teeth? Couldn't she feel it? Wouldn't one brush their teeth before being interviewed on film, or at least check them? That chunk of food grossed me out and continued to do so well after the interview was over. However, I had no idea just how far down this movie would go...the chunk of food proved a precursor to much more gruesome scenes.
They are forever burned into my brain. And that's not such a great thing, except I can say I actually went down into this thick, Kafkaesque hole and made it back , mostly unscathed.
I wanted to give this film three stars for conveying a lot of helpful and hopeful information, but because the film itself seemed stiff and awkward, I gave instead, two stars. Many of the lines were delivered stiffly, the doctor couldn't deliver his without is eyes carefully following the teleprompter. The main woman however, was much more natural and convincing. Good content but mostly unprofessional presentation.
This film would have seemed more exploitative if it hadn't been so gosh darn awkward. The best parts involved Leslie, a Puerto Rican trans woman who is interviewed throughout the film. The sex scenes were all simulated with porn actors, and the doctor is obviously reading from a cue card and is wholly uninteresting, even considering his viewpoint on trans and gender variant folks (which, hell, let's face it, would be advanced for 2015, much less for the 1970s). It's worth watching once for historical significance (especially for Leslie's interview, it's a shame there isn't any more info about her available), but the cinematography is appalling and there's VERY graphic footage of a MTF sex change operation.
Very straightforward, open, sensitive and accurate message for it's day! Fake presentation on the part of many actors and demeaning to some in so far as how their bodies were displayed, evaluated and discussed. However, this was a very controversial subject and a revolutionary approach...a beginning to exposure and education still so much needed for this population. It was okay, but wonderful to note from a historical perspective on the transgender condition.
The film gets the message across but is presented in the old behind the mainstream format and in some scenes its like an old porno presentation from the 60's......FAIR.