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‘Firstness’ review: touching story about finding one’s self

A story about identity and perception.

Firstness is a story about identity and perception. Winner of the the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Outfest, the film follows the lives of three people. Keith (Tim Kinsella) is a single father who is putting himself through therapy to get his life back in order. Julian (Caleb Cabrera) is a recently released prisoner who no one is willing to take a chance on. Tavi (Spencer Jording) is Keith’s non-binary child who is patiently waiting for the older generation to catch up with his. 

How people perceive things is a running theme of Brielle Brilliant’s directorial debut. This is seen most clearly in the friendship that Julian and Tavi strike up. Unsurprisingly, many are wary of seeing a younger child spend so much time with a grown man. While the two do not do much (there is even little conversation between the two), Firstness focuses on  the perception of the relationship. 

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For his part, Keith seems unsure with how anything is going with his life. He feels he is the weak link in his relationship with Tavi and seems to have problems interacting with people in general. This may be partially due to the fact that he seems unable to recognize social cues. Firstness does an excellent job of building an emotional core for audiences to attach themselves to. The film is about three people who are trying to work things out in life while discovering themselves. This is something everyone can relate to and makes everything more impactful. This also is instrumental in its incredibly satisfying conclusion.

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