Experts estimate that 1 out of 30,000 men and 1 out of 100,000 women have Gender Identity Disorder.
Now, here's the thing...beyond the power of that statistic, I must confess that I find myself troubled by the idea of claiming that someone like Kim B., the central subject in Aaron Bear's intelligent and emotionally honest documentary, should be considered as having a "disorder."
It bothers me. Tremendously.
Finding Kim, a nominee for the Grand Jury Prize at the Nashville Film Festival, is a remarkable documentary precisely because it takes a subject few people really know much about and manages to make it feel, well, not so remarkable.
In case you're wondering, that's a compliment.
The film follows Kim as he begins the transition journey from the woman that he never really was to the man that he's always really been. Kim is a compelling subject, less activist bravado than we're used to in this type of film and wonderfully filled with honesty and humanity and insecurity and humor and heart and so much gosh darn likability that I found myself in tears at several times throughout the film as every little step forward feels like someone taking baby steps toward discovering the person they were always meant to be.
Directed by Aaron Bear and featuring lensing by Gabriel Bienczycki, Finding Kim is the kind of film that will resonate deeply with not just those who are transgender but anyone who's lived a life feeling like they were living a lie only to get the chance to live into their truth. In this case, Kim B. is 50-years-old when the possibility of gender reassignment finally becomes a reality and allows Kim to discover a life he never quite expected and obviously feels so incredibly grateful to receive.
While I'm not always a fan of incorporating outside interviews into such a deeply personal journey, Bear does so wisely and utilizes tremendously well spoken and equally personable individuals such as Jamison Green and the always wonderful Buck Angel.
Finding Kim, while a more personal than political film, reminds us that while LGB rights have grown dramatically in recent years, the "T" still seems to intimidate the public and cause more than a little public furor.
B.S. North Carolina laws anyone?
Heck, even my own home state of Indiana. Sigh.
While Finding Kim doesn't avoid the necessary political observations, it ultimately soars when the camera is focused on Kim, whose transparency along the journey feels natural and true and whose complete and utter joy as we move toward the film's end practically feels like a rebirthing process.
Through a special theatrical arrangement with Tugg, Finding Kim arrives in theaters on May 31st before a digital release on June 6th. It's a special film, a film that will make you laugh and cry and maybe, just maybe, understand a little bit more about the transgender journey than you did before. For more information on Finding Kim, visit the film's website linked to in the credits.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic