Sweet, honest and patriotic; Jack & Yaya is more than a transformation story. It is a story about family, identity and the American way. Director Jen Bagley follows her subjects Jack & Yaya, best friends who, after growing up next door to each other, both go on their own journey of gender transformation.
Whilst the core message of this documentary is rooted in the stigmas and struggles of trans communities, it also delivers a beautiful message of community, as well as breaking stereotypes of poorer communities in the US. It’s refreshing and hopeful to watch a documentary of this subject matter that shows family acceptance and honesty.
Using archival footage from the Jack & Yaya’s respective family recordings, Bagley weaves a tapestry of experiences and characters that so embody America, but demonstrate change and tolerance that will inevitably influence the fabric of what it means to be American.
Whilst not everything in the film is blue skies and fresh daisies, both Jack and Yaya share their personal, no holds barred journeys that I’m sure will inspire, and give a frank reality of being part of the trans community.
Bagly’s cinematography is thoughtful and non-intrusive, and she is obviously a trustworthy Director for her cast to let their guards down and be so open in front of the camera.
The to-camera interviews of family members telling their family history, give an interesting insight into ever-changing family values and social prejudice.
After a successful run at film festivals internationally, Jack & Yaya will be available for streaming on June 15th
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