Film Reviews

Review: ‘Suited’ / ‘Handsome & Majestic’

Hot Docs 2016

Courtesy of Hot Docs


Suited
(USA, 74 min.)
Dir. Jason Benjamin
Programme: The Pursuit of Happiness (International Premiere)

Suited is about two-thirds of a great movie. This doc adds to the recent proliferation of stories about the experiences of transgendered and gender non-conforming people by profiling the work of New York tailor Rae Tutera. Born Rachel, Tutera designs suits for people whose bodies don’t fit the usual cuts of gendered clothes and he works as half of the partnership behind the tailoring company Bindle and Keep. Suited shows Tutera in action with business partner Daniel Friedman as they help to make members of the LGBTQ community feel comfortable and beautiful in their own bodies.

The doc shines as it chronicles the story of their client Derek, a trans-male seeking a suit for his wedding day that hides the unconventional shape of his hips. Derek openly relates his journey and even lets the documentary share his wedding day. The immaculately tailored suit outshines even the dress of his happy bride.

Similarly, the film focuses on Everett, a young man whose experience at law school proves difficult when colleagues and prospective employers learn of his transition process from female to male. The right suit, then, eliminates one element of bias that occurs when hirers see unexpected curves.

On the other hand, Suited unravels as it introduces four other clients and begins to tell their stories as they visit Bindle and Keep for their first fittings. The doc literally abandons two of these clients, both of whom have diverse stories worth pursuing, including one customer who need a suit that will make her look conservatively fabulous when arguing a case before a court of appeals. Similarly, two other clients fail to reappear until their final fittings, but at least the doc doesn’t forget them. The range of focus that Benjamin devotes to the subject feels incongruous with the doc’s emphasis on inclusivity. With a scant running time of 74 minutes, Suited could easily dig deeper into the lives of all six of its subjects.

Screens with:

Milan Halikowski at school
Courtesy of Hot Docs

Handsome & Majestic
(Canada, 12 min.)
Dir. Nathan Drillot, Jeff Petry

This short doc benefits from the less-is-more approach with which Suited struggles. Handsome & Majestic offers a portrait of Prince George, BC teen Milan, who bravely faces bullies at school after coming out as transgendered. The film shows a family’s support for a son who doesn’t conform to conventions of their small community. Milan articulates his comfort with his body remarkably well. Milan’s understanding of his sexuality and his experiences offer valuable insights that can help kids of all kinds find love and self-acceptance.

Suited and Handsome & Majestic screen:
-Friday, May 6 at the Revue at 6:45 PM
-Sunday, May 8 at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema at 10:30 AM

Please visit the POV Hot Docs hub for more coverage on this year’s festival.

Hot Docs runs April 28 – May 8. Visit www.hotdocs.ca for more information.