venus (Eisha Marjara) is about transitioning transwoman, but, refreshingly, writer/director Eisha Majara shifts the emotional legwork largely to the characters around her lead, creating a film in which the world must come to grips with the trans person – not the other way around. Sid (Debargo Sanyal) is embarking on a transition when she finds out she has a preteen son named Ralph (Jamie Mayers) with a high-school ex (Amber Goldfarb) she hasn’t spoken to in years. At the same time, she rekindles a romance with a closeted boyfriend (PierreYves Cardinal) while coming out to her Indian immigrant parents (Zena Darawalla and My Beautiful Laundrette’s Gordon Warnecke). There’s laugh-out-loud comedy, but the script allows the humour to flow from the characters, particularly Sanyal’s deadpan demeanour, which thaws somewhat with the arrival of Ralph – but not entirely. In general, Venus smartly avoids sweeping transformation in favour of gradual change, but the subplot of Ralph keeping his mom in the dark is overly drawn out and the wan rom-com aesthetic is commercial enough to strip the film of a sense of place. It’s ironic, given that Venus otherwise manages to take specific experiences and make them feel universal. 95 min. nnn (Kevin Ritchie)
Pierre-Yves Cardinal (left), Jamie Mayers and Debargo Sanyal deliver some laugh-out-loud moments.