Possessor

Possessor

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

-- do you ever think of your wife as a predator? do you ever think of her that way? don't look at me. get your head down. do you ever worry about parasites? with the cat? just think one day your wife is cleaning the cat litter and she gets a worm in her and that worm ends up in her brain and the next thing that happens is she gets an idea in there too and its hard to say whether that idea is really hers or if its just the worm and it makes her do certain things, predator things. eventually you realize that she isn't the same person anymore shes not the person that she used to be and its gotta make you wonder are you really married to her or are you married to the worm? are you seeing this you fucking bitch i'll do it come out or i'll do it! --

they didn't have to make this movie about being a trans woman but they went ahead and did so and with that the film becomes for me really only readable through that lens. In Possessor: Uncut there is a scene where the person Andrea Riseborough's character is possessing is having sex with his fiancee we are understood that Andrea Riseborough is experiencing an unusual state of consciousness and we the audience perceive her naked body rather than his during the sex act and we see her with a fully erect penis. so either a) she is a woman with a penis or b) she is a woman hallucinating or dreaming herself to have a penis which in the world of Possessor would signify noise in the system, a glitch, something having 'gone wrong' and therefore ominous. Either reading serves the same ends in regard to the protagonist of the film: that she is unstable, violent, dangerous to family and sexual partners, something that shouldn't be there, something unnatural which can only be maintained in a host body through highly experimental and morally dubious technologies and even that must be constantly monitored and policed for signs of collapse and decompensation. She must pretend to be a person with her family, her lovers, her co-workers, herself, her entire life is an elaborate deception that she is ok that she is really a person and not a void performing as a person. something wrong wearing a man skin. something wrong wearing a woman's face as a halloween mask, something violently wrested and ill-fitting, not passing. it may be the purpose of the movie to attempt to induce in cis people an analogous experience to gender dysphoria. it did more than induce gender dysphoria in me. it confirmed i am who i am afraid i am, a fraudulent usurper, a confidence artist, a bad actor acting badly, a deteriorating neutron star, a core in meltdown, something that cannot have friends, cannot have a family, cannot have a self. this is the story that many trans women tell themselves. it is the story society tells us about ourselves. that we will assault you. that we will murder you. that we will get away with this by pretending to be someone we are not. by pretending to be a woman or pretending to be a man we can get close to you for years and years and when you least suspect it we will be in place to deliver the killing blow we won't even have to flee because we were never even there

this movie definitely gets what it is like to have dissociative sex with your partner in the wrong body. fuck did i ever feel that. or looking in the window at your old family that you can't be with anymore and they seem happy and you have to try to be a human with them because that is what they are expecting. yeah that too.

i will also say that as someone who experiences the presence of other consciousness slipping in around and through my own, holding, interpenetrating, supporting, flowing like water over and through rock, this feeling like a violation of something wrong or foreign is not my experience of such interactions, it isn't a horror, it isn't a violence. as this movie points out, there are parasites. those feel bad. those can hurt or drain, but being inside along another in a dance or conversation or embrace we don't see that much in movies.

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