Director: Barbara Kopple
Gregory Lazzarato was any young Canadian boy – a gifted diver on track for Olympic Games consideration. He also loved make-up and growing up in the age of YouTube found himself as a beauty and fashion vlogger with a growing fanbase connected to a YouTube channel. He used the channel to explore himself, to find himself – he in fact was not Gregory. He was Gigi. And from Gigi Lazzarato to Gigi Gorgeous, the YouTube channel is used for coming out of Gigi as transgender female.
This documentary follows that story – with home-video footage of the young Gregory for context and then the full transformation to Gigi including discussion of surgical procedures and the aftermath of reconstructive surgeries.
Gigi is fearless and proud. Her family is supportive. Honest. Real. Her father fumbles with pronouns, apologies, aims to get it right – and does. He is a role model, a hero in a sense – in terms of showing support and unconditional love, in understanding that he loves the person not the gender, and that whatever gender his child wants to be is who he loves because wrapped up inside is the person he has always loved.
Gigi is a presence – a force.
However, the first half of the film, the first two-thirds even, is a powerful story around the transitioning, all of the back-story too. When we meet Gigi in full it becomes a by-rote tale of chasing fame.
That seems a shame given the strength on show earlier in the film.
It’s still worth a watch, absolutely. But be warned that the living-life-online aspect of this has a unique soul morphing into a caricature that wants what so many others seem to want: a version of fame gathered up through idolisation. That’s at odds with the warmth and heart on offer when this documentary is doing its job brilliantly of drawing you in to the world of its subject.
This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous is part of this year’s Documentary Edge Festival in New Zealand. The festival’s films screen in Wellington May 10-21, 2017 and in Auckland May 24 – June 5, 2017.