Seahorse – Hot Docs 2019 Quickie Review

Jeanie Finlay’s emotional powerhouse of a documentary ends with David Bowie’s Kooks, an intimate hymn that shares a distinct feeling of parenthood, with Freddy ‘s courageous journey of childbirth. Just like the film’s subject, Seahorse is an ultra-personal reflection on becoming a parent. We follow the day in the life of Freddy McConnell, a lovely trans gentleman who aims to pursue to carry a child, through his transitioning body. We experience everything with Freddy; from the most vital of moments, to the most somber of memories. It’s everything that you would expect from a heartwarming subject of this caliber!

Yet the film ultimately hits a roadblock, when Finlay’s presence almost feels intrusive, like a stalker directly interrogating Freddy and his family/peers. This stingy atmosphere, which appears frequently throughout the film, makes each of the testimonies slightly disingenuous, regarding the fourth wall breaks between Finlay and her subjects. Seahorse is without a doubt an emotional powerhouse; a great achievement in observational documentation. Although some elements can be interpreted as miscued, Freddy’s inspirational journey is one for the progressive 21st century and beyond!

Seahorse screened at this year’s Hot Docs Canadian International Film Festival, as part of The Changing Face of Europe program. The film is currently seeking international distribution.

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