Cast: Alisha B. Woods, Bobbi Salvör Menuez, Chloë Levine, Colton Ryan, Dana Aliya Levinson, Gracie Lawrence, Haley Murphy, Jari Jones, Katie Lynn Esswein, Leo Sheng, Margaret Qualley, Maxton Miles Baeza, May Hong, Nicholas Alexander, Paige Gilbert Washington, Rachel Burkhardt
Transparent producer and Outfest alum Rhys Ernst’s ambitious feature debut approaches Ariel Schrag’s 2014 satirical YA novel of the same name with sensitivity and nuance, opening a window into the lives of young lesbian and trans New Yorkers in 2006. Faced with a boring summer with his parents, awkward high schooler Adam decides to join his hip sister Casey (Margaret Qualley, Fosse/Verdon), a student at Columbia University, and an active member of the New York City queer scene. As the naïve but open-minded Adam tags along, he finds himself taken with the older(ish) Gillian. Surprisingly, she seems interested, assuming he is a trans man — not a cis, straight teen — and Adam does nothing to correct her. As he falls deeper into a relationship with Gillian and plunges further into the core of this group, Adam must find a way to live his truth without alienating and offending his new friends.
A coming-of-age romance with a twist, this comedy of errors doesn’t shy away from uncomfortable moments, treating its characters, their perspectives, and their experiences with respect. Turning the trans-deception trope on its head, Adam charts the growth not only of a young man, but also of a movement, giving the eponymous Adam, as well as the audience, an intimate entrée into a very specific time and place.