From This Day Forward is one of the latest documentaries to get plenty of praise from critics and audiences alike. The film has gained notable attention, seeing that it is very on trend with one of the most prominent topics in today’s society. It is largely focused on the aftermath that occurred after a father comes out as transgender to his family. Similar to shows I Am Cait and I Am Jazz, which both follow the day-to-day trials and tribulations of transgender women (starring Caitlyn Jenner and Jazz Jennings, respectively), From This Day Forward also gives audience members a more in-depth look into the transgender community.
Filmmaker Shannon Shattuck steers the project, acting as the director, co-producer, co-writer, cinematographer, animator, among countless other roles. It is actually her family’s story that is the basis for the documentary. When Shannon was in the midst of middle school, her father Michael revealed that he was transgender. This was evidently a shock not only Shannon and her sister but also her heterosexual mother, Marcia. Nonetheless, Marcia opted to stay with Shannon’s father, who subsequently changed her name to Trisha. Since this is not often the case when it comes to such a dramatic shift in a family’s dynamic, it is definitely an interesting story to see being told so candidly on screen.
Years later, Shannon was gearing up for her own wedding and came to realize the impact her father’s transition had on her views on life and love. Therefore, as she begins planning for her big day, Shannon heads back to her hometown and further explores her parents lasting relationship. Seeing that Marcia and Trisha were able to thrive through an undeniably tough situation that generally rips couples apart, Shannon decides to get a better understanding of their strong relationship in hopes of applying it to her own impending union.
The teaser for the documentary starts off with Shannon asking for Trisha (formerly Michael) to recall when she was in middle school, and they talked hypothetically about the day she was going to get married. Shannon reveals that her father (who had not yet transitioned at the time) had requested that she let her wear a dress to her big day.
Next, Trisha’s wife (and Shannon’s mother) Marcia explains that it was very early on in their relationship that she found out about Trisha’s fondness for cross-dressing. Marcia recounts a time where Michael (before the transition) stepped out of the room very briefly and came back completely done up as a woman.
Shannon’s sister Laura also makes a brief appearance in the trailer. She explains that at the time, her father’s announcement was tough. This being because both she and Shannon were still in their teen years and trying to figure out who they were. Suddenly, they had their father – who they thought was their pillar of stability – wanting to do the same.
While the love between Marcia and Trisha quickly becomes apparent in the trailer, they do reveal that there was plenty of fighting and tears during the time of Trisha’s transition. Trisha recounts that Marcia was in denial and constantly exclaiming that she had married a man and not a woman. However, with Trisha’s help, Marcia was able to get an understanding of the psychology behind her husband’s internal struggle and ever-growing need to express her femininity.
From This Day Forward has a very uplifting feel to it. While it does disclose some of the issues that came about following Trisha’s transition, it also shows the happiness that can be found when people keep an open mind and look beyond the binary system of gender. Trisha and Marcia continue to share a joy-filled, loving marriage, despite the fact that parts of Marcia’s groom, Michael are no longer present. Just from the short trailer, it is evident that the film is able to illustrate that while Trisha’s appearance, wardrobe, name, etc. have changed over the years, she is still the same lively soul – whom Marcia, Shannon, Laura and the rest of their family and friends love.
This documentary has won countless awards and from the teaser, it becomes very apparent why. People and communities all around the world desperately need to be more open-minded when it comes to embracing the diversity that everyone brings to the table. From This Day Forward definitely presents a story that can help in doing so.