Anything’s Possible made the 2020 Blacklist, a list of unproduced screenplays that are the most popular but not necessarily the best. Watching the movie, it’s clear why this story caught my attention, as it’s a cute story about self-acceptance and unconditional love. Kelsa and Khalid have an excellent relationship that is typical in many ways but surprisingly refreshing in others. “Anything’s Possible.”
Anything’s Possible: Movie Review
The primary focus of this movie is romance, but the essential character-driven story at its core makes it a compelling watch. While there is a lot to like, there are problems. Surprisingly, the main problem is that Kelsa’s story is way too condensed. The script should be turned into a series that aired on a television network or streaming service, preferably Prime Video, as MGM’s 2022 acquisition puts the film on the platform for release. There is so much to like about the “Anything’s Possible” film, but so little time to explore all that it entails.
Previously titled What If?, Anything’s Possible is Billy Porter’s feature directorial debut. The coming-of-age romantic comedy written by Ximena García Lecuona tells the story of Kelsa (Eva Reign), a teenage girl who falls in love with Khalid (Abubakr Ali) at school. While their romance blossoms through all the usual speed bumps, the main thing that can make or break this relationship is the reality that comes with Kelsa being trans.
Before we get into the smaller issues, it’s important to note the big wins. Billy Porter is known for being a well-dressed and dynamic person; it makes sense that his feature debut would reflect that. His directing efforts are confident and consistent. It stands out visually, but technically the film is practical and decent. Porter took great care to make his film ooze liveliness without being too bold with his camerawork.
The costumes by Analucia McGorty are elaborate and extravagant, sometimes too much for the setting. Kelsa and her friends Em (Courtnee Carter) and Chris (Kelly Lamor Wilson) go above and beyond to openly express their interests, personalities and identities. This is admirable because it helps differentiate it from other teen-oriented projects, such as the ultra-sexy teen style of Euphoria and the classy and fashionable rich-kid style of Gossip Girl.
Anything’s Possible’s fashion alludes to the LGBTQ+ community, especially the trans community, as Kelsa is often dressed in blue, pink, and white. In addition, self-expression through clothing is key to who Kelsa is, someone who is looking for ways to stand out and be who she is meant to be.
Eva Reign is magnetic. There is an undeniable IT girl factor that makes it hard to take your eyes off her. Fortunately, the delightfully charismatic and sweet Abubakr Ali often shares the screen with her. Originally, Kelsa was to be played by Yasmine Finnley. While Finnley starred in Netflix’s popular teen series Heartstopper, Reign is stepping into the spotlight to hopefully become one of the many young trans stars to make a name for themselves in the industry. “Anything’s Possible.”
She deserves credit because Reign brings a lot of warmth and confidence to Kelso. There is absolute ease in the way she portrays the character and the audience will be rooting for her from the start. Ali is equally enjoyable and balances Kelsa’s calm demeanor with an unpredictable personality that is simply fascinating. They are just adorable together.
The story covers familiar ground with teenagers looking to the future, unsure of what colleges to attend, and imagining how they will become fully realized people. Anything’s Possible focuses on a trans girl, so the narrative weaves that aspect of Kelsa’s life into the larger narrative. However, this is where the film’s script falters. The story has many threads that fail to wrap up satisfactorily.
The story has a poignant and comprehensive understanding of the reality of a cisgender person who is in a relationship with a trans partner, which means that there is no significant difference from other teen dating sites. He is also well aware of the reality of how a young trans person perceives himself in a single-parent home. Renée Elise Goldsberry and Reign are superb in executing these intricate and thoughtful scenes.
Khalid has a compelling character and dynamic family that pushes the boundaries of how Muslim families are portrayed in mainstream Hollywood. Overall, Lecuona’s script takes the conventions of a teen rom-com and only adapts to give Kelso and Khalid a decent and real story.
However, the film loses its footing when Kelsa’s trans identity is weaponized against her by the students in her year. Lecuona and nearby Porter deal with the issue of young people harboring outdated ideas and the limits of “liberal-minded” people. The two characters are at odds with Kelsa when she enters into a relationship with Khal, leading to him trying to punish Kelsa. “Anything’s Possible.”
One of them repents after convincing the school to shut Kelsa off to women-only areas; the other not after displaying homophobic and transphobic behavior and encouraging the ostracization of Kelsa. These narrative threads are relevant and it would be ideal for the film to be a series to flesh out these elements.
Additionally, Kelsa does not reach a satisfactory resolution with either person and is shown in the film as someone who is able to speak directly to someone when a problem needs to be solved. In one notable scene, after the school bans Kelse from using the women’s restroom and locker room, she sets the record straight with a friend who rants against their classmates.
What most would consider an act of solidarity, Kelsa sees as a selfish act, opening up the fascinating subject of what performative activism is and how it affects the people it affects. However, all of this is concentrated in one scene and then never comes back.
Anything’s Possible is careful never to dwell on the bad side of Kelsa’s experiences. Its goal is to be hopeful and sweet. It succeeds in that regard, but by not closing these loose threads, the whole thing is a bit lost. There is a sense that more could have been explored, not only in terms of Kelsa and Khalid’s story, which is beautiful but also in Kelsa’s relationships outside of her romantic relationship.
They are the most interesting elements of the movie, but since there are so many other things to touch on, everything is rushed with a happy ending. A 10-part series about the highs and lows of high school romance and friendship à la Netflix’s Never Have I Ever would be perfect for Kelsa’s story. Anything that is Possible is great for what it is, but its potential is even greater. “Anything’s Possible.”
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