Bennett Wallace is a young man who tells his life story and describes something that happened in his adolescent years which changed him forever and shaped him into who he is today. When the viewer first encounters Bennett, he is a biological girl named Rachel. At that time she has short hair, she is wearing tomboy clothes and is part of a traditional family of father, mother and a sibling. As the years progress, Rachel slowly turns into Bennett and becomes more and more aware of his inner struggle with gender identity and the acceptance of those around him.
Soon, Bennett is part of a family with divorced parents and is trying to cope with cutting and drug abuse. Unfortunately, the young adult does not receive any support from his family. Quite the opposite – his mother, Suzy, trivializes his experience of gender nonconformity and cannot let go of the image of her once-daughter Rachel. As a response, Bennett tries to find understanding and affection online. The more his family separates from him, the more people he finds on social media who are going through the same experience and share his views on gender. Feeling less alone due to this newfound online family, Bennett decides to pursue his passion for music. Inspired by Joe Stevens, a transgender musician with past addiction issues, the young man dreams about becoming a songwriter and singer – and begins his journey of self-discovery.
“The journey a mother goes through when her child is transitioning is often left untold.”
— The Advocate
“Haas provides us with the window into the life of one individual who transitions into adulthood, choosing to be a boy and believes he is as real a boy as the ones who didn’t have a previous feminine identity.”
— Age Of The Greek
“The film is interspersed with beautiful animation by Molly Schwartz – beautiful even when overlaid with some of Ben’s darker memories about self-harm and substance abuse – and is reminiscent of another recent BFI Flare documentary, Songs For Alexis.”
— Crispy Sharp Film
Did You Know?
Bennett Wallace decided to allow director Shaleece Haas explore his entire life and so the documentary film was produced over the course of over 4 years. Haas made a statement in which she declares that Real Boy is not necessarily a movie about Bennett’s gender identity and transition, but more so about Suzy, as “the person who makes the greatest transformation is his mother”. The animation which is constantly interspersed throughout the film was created by Molly Schwartz, a renowned artist and designer. Review our Gay Themed Films Here
All pictures reproduced courtesy of Shaleece Haas