Review by Sean Boelman
Billy Porter is a beloved performer, so his directorial debut was naturally something that many people were excited for. Fans will be disappointed to hear that Anything’s Possible is an unexpectedly standard and safe outing, wasting its potentially powerful premise on a generic, histrionic romance.
The film follows a trans teen girl who experiences her unlikely first love with one of the popular boys in school. The movie follows the beats of the star-crossed lovers formula pretty much to a tee, but the big distinguishing factor here is the LGBTQ representation, which has the potential to be revolutionary.
Unfortunately, the film struggles to find its identity from the beginning. It clearly wants to be a revolutionary piece of LGBTQ media, but it settles for being a cutesy teen romance. Ximena García Lecuona’s script doesn’t rein in the melodramatic tendencies of this type of story, and it’s a bit excessive as a result.
Although seeing a trans coming-of-age story is welcome representation, it can’t be forgiven for its shortcomings just because it means well. While the story preaches a message of acceptance and love, it does so in a way that is so frustratingly derivative and reductive that it is almost embarrassing.
The movie also makes the somewhat questionable decision of framing the story significantly through the perspective of a cis male character. Thankfully, Kelsa isn’t relegated to just being a love interest — but it often feels as if her growth is dependent on validation by cis people, which keeps the film from being as groundbreaking as it clearly wants to be.
The acting is also a significant shortcoming for the movie. The chemistry between Eva Reign and Abubakr Ali is just not there. It feels very strained and awkward, and more so than your average high school relationship should be. And individually, each of them feels like they are giving a performance on the level of a teen soap on network television.
Unfortunately, the film also struggles stylistically. More often than not, it feels like a movie made for the TikTok generation by someone who doesn’t quite understand the meaning of social media. There are some points in which Billy Porter’s personality shines through, but more often than not, it just feels shockingly out-of-touch.
Anything’s Possible could have been great, and while it isn’t insufferable, it’s just merely alright. And given Porter’s talents and the potential it had to actually be something important, it’s underwhelming.
Anything’s Possible streams on Prime Video beginning July 22.