Sunday, May 6, 2018

Hot Docs '18 Film Review - Transformer

Marc Kroc Kroczaleski is looking through old photo albums and comes across one in his high school football jersey. He remarks that the players would wear their jersey's to class on game days and the cheerleaders also wore their uniforms. He often thought about switching places knowing he would be more comfortable in their clothing than his. Janae Marie Kroc is the female side of the equation. Having come out to his three boys when they were 2, 4 and 6 the divorced ex-marine deals with parents that can't face the change and a level of fame as a champion powerlifter.  A 2015 You Tube incident outed Marc as Janae pushing the on and off again move to transitioning down the road to permanent change.

However, lifting weights runs deep Janae still meets up with old lifting buddies that are very accepting as are powerlifting commentators and fans. It seems that only his former sponsor Muscletech have a problem as they did not renew his contact after the news came out. His sons are very accepting coming for a weekend visit, asking questions that Janae openly answers playing video games as their dad does his makeup and adjusts his wig at the dining room table ahead of a night out on the town and being helpful with he calls out for assistance to find his purse.

Director Michael Del Monte presents the story of a riveting subject. Marc was 118 pounds entering high school. He was bullied, felt vulnerable and did not want to feel that way again so he turned to weights, the marines, bodybuilding then powerlifting. He transformed himself so people would leave him alone. Then did it again to bring stares and sideways looks at a 250 lbs musclebound woman. Del Monte's camera is passive as Janae progresses. Stepping up the estrogen, no more testosterone, appointments with surgeons to make changes in her voice then traveling to Seoul to a leading doctor to make facial changes.

Janae's goals are really simple to for the first time like the person that stares back at her in the mirror. Her sons are in full agreement with the plan. Suicide had been contemplated before remaining a possibility if this path is not followed. Despite the trepidation of his parents, Janae has a wide support system of old, new and weightlifting community friends. The film is a valuable insight into two worlds powerlifting and transgendered transitioning that is informative and well worth a watch.

*** 1/2 Out of 4.

Transformer | Michael Del Monte | Canada | 2018 | 78 Minutes.

Tags: Transgender, Marines, Power Lifter, Dead Lift, Facial Surgery, Vocal Surgery, Estrogen, Makeup Wigs.

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