3 Generations (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

May 28, 2017 by  

Gaby Dellal’s “3 Generations” could have been a better film when kept simple without the mother’s dramatics, but while the performance by Elle Fanning is well-done, you can’t help but watch the film and feel that Ray’s journey is slightly lost when the film strays away from her character and focusing on others.  I do feel “3 Generations” is a film worth watching!

Images courtesy of © 1976 Meri von Sternberg. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: 3 Generations


DURATION: 92 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1:85:1, English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Subtitles: English SDH and Spanish

COMPANY: Anchor Bay

RATED: PG-13 (Mature Thematic Content, Some Sexual References and Language)

RELEASE DATE: June 13, 2017

Directed by Gaby Dellal

Written by Nikole Beckwith, Gaby Dellal

Produced by Dorothy Berwin, Gaby Dellal, Peter Saraf, Marc Turtletaub

Co-Producer: Caroline Orr, Simon White

Executive Producer: Leah Holzer, Daniele Tate Melia, Peter Pastorelli, Naomi Watts

Music by Michael Brook, West Dylan Thordson

Cinematography by David Johnson

Edited by Jeff Betancourt, Joe Landauer

Casting by Douglas Aibel, Stephanie Holbrook

Production Design by Stephanie Carroll

Art Direction by Meredith Lippincott

Set Decoration by Philippa Culpepper

Costume Design by Arjun Bhasin


Elle Fanning as Ray

Naomi Watts as Maggie

Susan Sarandon as Dolly

Linda Emond as Frances

Tate Donovan as Craig

Sam Trammell as Matthew

Jordan Carlos as Jake

Naomi Watts, Elle Fanning, and Susan Sarandon star in this inspirational, witty, and courageous look at a family learning to accept a transgender teen for who he is. .

From filmmaker Gaby Dellal (“On a Clear Day”, “Angels Crest”, “Tube Tales”) and writer Nikole Beckwith (“Beaches”, “Stockholm, Pennsylvania”) comes the drama film, “3 Generations”.

Starring Elle Fanning (“Maleficent”, “Super 8”, “The Neon Demon”), Naomi Watts (“King Kong”, “Mulholland Drive”, “The Ring”), Susan Sarandon (“Thelma & Louise”, “Dead Man Walking”, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”), Tate Donovan (“The O.C.”, “Shooter”, “Argo”), Linda Emond (“Julie & Julia”, “Jenny’s Wedding”, “Stop-Loss”) and Sam Trammell (“True Blood”, “Alien vs. Predator: Requiem”, “The Fault in Our Stars”).

The film revolves around a family.  Maggie (portrayed by Naomi Watts) has a daughter named Ray (portrayed by Elle Fanning) who identifies being male and wants to have surgery to become a male and to be treated like a male.

The two live with Maggie’s lesbian mother Dolly (portrayed by Susan Sarandon) and her girlfriend Frances (portrayed by Linda Emond).

Unfortunately, for Ray to have the surgery, because a father is listed, both parents must sign the papers to authorize the surgery.  Maggie doesn’t know where Ray’s father, Craig, is living, so she is trying to get information of where he is located, so she can get him to sign the papers.

Meanwhile, Dolly can’t understand why Ray can’t be a lesbian and why she wants a boy, meanwhile Maggie worries about Ray having the surgery.

But as Maggie is able to trace her ex-boyfriend Craig (portrayed by Tate Donovan), she is shocked to see that he is doing very well financially, has a wife and three children.  Because Craig has not been in Ray’s life, Maggie feels he should just sign the papers but he is unwilling to.  Not knowing who Ray is, afraid of the serious risks of the surgery and what if  Ray decides to go back to being a girl?

Feeling miserable, Ray feels he must go through so many hoops to get this surgery done and his life is hang in the balance of people who don’t really understand him.

But also, there is a secret that Maggie has kept from Ray that complicates matters deeply.

Will the parents sign the papers to allow him from having the surgery?


“3 Generations” is presented in 1080p (1:85:1 aspect ratio). Picture quality is good but at times the film looks quite soft.  Closeups do show good detail.


“3 Generations” is presented in English DTS-HD Master Audio. Dialogue and music are crystal clear through the center channel and front channels. Surround channels are primarily used for music and ambiance, but the majority of the film is dialogue-driven.


“3 Generations” comes with the following special features:

  • Deleted and Extended Scenes – (6:11) Featuring six deleted and extended scenes.

I have to give credit to Gaby Dellal and Nikole Beckwith for creating a film and showing about the challenges of sexual transitions, as a teenager named Ray who had identified only as a boy and is desperately wanting to have the surgery to become a boy.

As Maggie, the mother of Ray, explains to the father that Ray was born with a vagina but feels it was a cruel joke and now wants to fix that, so he can be a boy.

But the challenges that Ray must face to get the surgery is that because he is under 18, his mother and the father (listed on the birth certificate) must sign the papers to authorize the surgery.

As for Ray, life is complicated.  Identifying as a boy, he wants to be part of the guys, look at other young ladies but for those who grew up with him, they see him as a girl.  Others think he is gay.

Meanwhile at home, her lesbian grandmother can’t understand why Ray can’t just be a lesbian.  But Maggie and Ray have gone through hundreds of hours of therapy and while Maggie wants what’s best for Ray and is supportive of the surgery (although worried about the risks), the problem is finding the father, Craig.

While Maggie is able to find the father, he is unwilling to sign because he pops up in his life, without no communication and expects him to sign immediately.  Which he doesn’t want to do because he hasn’t seen Ray, he doesn’t know for himself of what if Ray one day wants to be a female again and wants to become pregnant or wants to become a girl again.

But things are more complicated between Maggie and Craig, which is revealed and makes things even more problematic for Ray.

While I enjoyed the film and showing how young people who are transgendered face major challenges, the film throws in a plot twist so late in the movie and while it should be a film about Ray, too much of the film is dedicated on her mother Maggie.  A single mother, not happy with her own life, living with her mother and her girlfriend and I felt those elements were unneeded and should have focused more on Ray’s journey and the challenges he faces in life and less on the mother’s drama with other men.

As for the Blu-ray, picture quality is great for closeups but I do feel that there is a bit of softness to the overall film.  Lossless audio is primarily dialogue and music-driven but there are some usage of surround channels for ambiance and music-driven scenes.  As for special features, six deleted and extended scenes are included.

Overall, Gaby Dellal’s “3 Generations” could have been a better film when kept simple without the mother’s dramatics, but while the performance by Elle Fanning is well-done, you can’t help but watch the film and feel that Ray’s journey is slightly lost when the film strays away from her character and focusing on others.  I do feel “3 Generations” is a film worth watching!

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