MovieChat Forums > The Assignment (2016) Discussion > Who thought this plot was a good idea??

Who thought this plot was a good idea??


Not many things prompt me to actually speak up but this takes the cake.

Damn if I knew it was as simple to transition as getting on the mob's bad side then I wouldn't have spent 14 years dealing with severe depression and an overwhelming sense of helplessness as testosterone wreaked havoc on my body. I would've spent my time more productively training to become a hit-man knowing that someday a mob doctor would perform witchcraft and turn me into a cis-woman. Hell the $20000+ over the course of 4 years of transitioning would've been way better spent on weaponry and physical training.

Where can I find this doctor and can they please hurry up and share their medical talents with the rest of the world? The amount of trauma a person would have to go through to get bottom surgery, top surgery, facial surgery, voice surgery, and also a complete reset of their endocrine system to flush out, adapt to, and produce the right hormones over the course of one operation must have been mind boggling. Especially the hormone thing considering that's not possible. Hormone replacement takes years and has to continue after surgery indefinitely or the individual essentially begins to experience the symptoms of menopause. Not to mention removing facial hair permanently takes up to a year of regular treatments. The fact that that individual then spirals, I'm assuming immediately, into revenge is amazing. I'm a month into recovering from bottom surgery and I can barely go up and down stairs, let alone reap vengeance upon an entire criminal organization.

So I am to suspend my disbelief and say that the mob spent $30k-90k on this person's complete and total, seemingly magical, "surgical" feminization? And then proceeded to keep him in a coma for 3-12 months of recovery? Why painstakingly go through the complicated and expensive process of making him into an attractive woman, taking care to ensure that he retains all of his physical prowess and skill?

It's completely absurd and makes an incredibly transphobic spectacle of the life-saving surgeries that real people struggle and fight to obtain.

In all seriousness though I understand that you're supposed to suspend your sense of disbelief when watching a movie and that it's all in good fun and just meant to entertain people, blah blah blah. But this movie* is taking my struggles and life experiences (and the struggles and life experiences of an entire group of people) and reducing it to a cheap
and humiliating plot device. Seriously what the hell. I don't expect much from Hollywood but I expect better than this.

*when I say movie I do actually mean "piece of transphobic garbage"

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I agree the precise is stupid (why the goddamn operation?) but I wouldn't call it transphobic.

Also how does the surgery save lives?

I don't care about a troll who doesn't pay for his opinion telling me how to review movies.

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As a trans person I would call this movie transphobic for a few reasons. And to clarify, I'm using transphobic in less of the literal sense of "irrational fear of trans people" and more as a word to describe something that is directly or indirectly harmful to trans people and the trans community. In most cases this is the context in which the word is used.

First, it reduces an incredibly deep, complicated, and important part of our lives into a plot point. It turns Gender Confirmation Surgery(GCS) into an obstacle the main character has to overcome. It essentially presents GCS as genital and body mutilation. An already common and harmful misconception that people have. To give any credence to this misconception is incredibly irresponsible, even if that was not the intent.

Second, while the unrealistic nature of the film could be considered a redeeming quality considering the sensitive material, it in fact makes the situation that much worse. Public knowledge about GCS is already incredibly limited. The vast majority of people do not know what a trans person goes through and a common assumption is that surgery is a one-stop-shop for all your transition needs. It perpetuates the idea that trans women are just men who had surgery and now look like women. This is incredibly harmful to trans people. Access to transition related healthcare is already difficult to come by and already heavily gated by cis people making assumptions about us.

Third, there have already been claims by people that this is "representation" for trans people. That this is a transgender action film. It is not. Trans representation is incredibly limited and it's insulting to throw this at us and say "See? We're including you!" The fact that there are any people at all who will take that bait and agree that this is a transgender movie and representative of trans experiences makes me want to rip my hair out. This is in no way representative of trans people whatsoever.



To explain how GCS and other trans-related surgeries save lives I'll have to go into a bit more depth about being trans and will largely be drawing from my own personal experiences. I know others go through these same experiences but it would be irresponsible to claim to speak for everyone. This is all going to be unrelated to the movie, so if you were just looking for a trans person's opinion on the movie you can stop reading here.

To understand the importance of surgery it's necessary to understand dysphoria. Dysphoria is the disconnect and unease between a person and their existence. With trans people this manifests in many ways: body dysphoria, voice dysphoria, genital dysphoria, social dysphoria, etc.

For me, it was all of the above. For as long as I can remember I've had constant, overwhelming, nagging feelings of discomfort with myself and my existence. However, over the course of growing up, certain things alleviated this to small degrees. Learning what transgender was, for instance, gave me understanding. Let's say 1% reduction in overall dysphoria now that I could at least identify why I was such a mess and knew there was a path I could take. 10 years later, beginning Hormone Replacement Therapy(HRT), finally sorting out my endocrine system, gave me some relief, maybe 15% to body dysphoria. Six months later, introducing myself to people with my chosen name and being perceived as the woman I knew I was gave me even more relief, maybe another 15% to social dysphoria.

But, despite all of this, I still suffered from dysphoria. My body still wanted to produced testosterone, I was just taking medication to dull it. I couldn't form intimate relationships because I suffered from severe genital dysphoria. Clothes didn't fit right, I had constant fears that someone would notice. I had constant fears I'd be outed in one ridiculous way or another because of that one thing. And all of that is besides the enormous amount of mental disconnect that still lingered. For me, bottom surgery had always been the final step and my only option for living my life normally.

All of this takes an enormous mental toll on a person. To say that the course of those ten years prior to HRT were bad would be an understatement. It was plagued with depression, suicidal thoughts, self harm, isolation. It was miserable and I consider surviving that period of my life to be one of the most difficult things I will ever accomplish. HRT saved my life, as it does for most other trans people. For me however, surgery was still my end goal. I was out of the pitch black but I was still stuck in the dark; surgery was the light at the end I was stumbling towards.

I will say flat out that if bottom surgery were an impossibility for me I would have killed myself years ago. Dysphoria is an incredibly heavy weight to carry around constantly, and that's multiplied by the difficulty in explaining what it is and the disbelief most people have when you do. Statistics show that for every two trans people you meet, one of them will likely have attempted suicide at some point in their life.

Surgery for trans people (who suffer from severe genital/body dysphoria) is as life saving as surgery to remove a brain tumor. Just because the window of opportunity is larger and slightly more flexible doesn't make it any less important. Just because no one would note the cause of death as "dysphoria" does not mean that dysphoria did not kill that person.

Disclaimer: This is from my experiences, I do not claim to speak for anyone else. All trans experiences are different and to assume otherwise is irresponsible. Many trans people do not seek to have surgery. It's a complicated and expensive procedure with a host of risks and potential complications, requiring taking months off of work or school. For some, it's a low priority and for others it's not necessary at all. This does not affect or discredit their transness in the slightest. For me, however, it was imperative to my survival.


If you read this far, thanks for taking the time to understand a trans person's perspective on an incredibly transphobic movie.

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So the movie is going around shooting transgender people in the face?

The filmmakers do not have any responsibly for some snowflake's fee fees.

Explain how people knowing you are the opposite gender you claim to be is harmful to you.

Third, there have already been claims by people that this is "representation" for trans people. That this is a transgender action film. It is not. Trans representation is incredibly limited and it's insulting to throw this at us and say "See? We're including you!" The fact that there are any people at all who will take that bait and agree that this is a transgender movie and representative of trans experiences makes me want to rip my hair out. This is in no way representative of trans people whatsoever.


I bet most of the people who claim it as a representation are trans.

It was plagued with depression, suicidal thoughts, self harm, isolation.


So basically, you were insecure. This is something everyone goes through.

I don't care about a troll who doesn't pay for his opinion telling me how to review movies.

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Currently there are nearly a dozen states in the US attempting to pass legislation that would prevent people like me from using public restrooms. If I am perceived to be a gender I am not it limits my ability to be out in public. It makes me a liability for my employer. It encourages people to disagree with my existence. In some states, it would give people the option to sue me.

Movies like this give people with this mindset a platform to stand on. It gives them justification for their viewpoints. (ie, a trans woman is just a man who is trying to look like a woman, surgery is the only thing that legitimizes transness, etc)

I'm sorry that you choose to reduce the unique challenges that trans people face down to being "insecure". Like I said in my previous post, one of the biggest challenges with dysphoria is explaining it to people and being told that it's not as bad as it is. Having lived with this my entire life and dealt with unrelated insecurities and self-esteem issues I can confidently say that it is not the same.

However, all of this is veering very far off the topic of this movie for which this thread was intended and is instead being moved towards me becoming defensive and emotional over my right to exist. I hope that all of the above that I've written is enlightening for anyone looking for a trans person's perspective on the movie. Thank you, Jason, for posing important questions in your first post.

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Currently there are nearly a dozen states in the US attempting to pass legislation that would prevent people like me from using public restrooms.


So you can't peep.

If I am perceived to be a gender I am not it limits my ability to be out in public. It makes me a liability for my employer.


Sure it does.

It encourages people to disagree with my existence.


No, they don't.

In some states, it would give people the option to sue me.


Rape by deception is a big deal.

(ie, a trans woman is just a man who is trying to look like a woman, surgery is the only thing that legitimizes transness, etc)


Its kinda true. Its like the difference between Gamers and people who spend five minutes playing Candy Crush.

I'm sorry that you choose to reduce the unique challenges that trans people face down to being "insecure". Like I said in my previous post, one of the biggest challenges with dysphoria is explaining it to people and being told that it's not as bad as it is.


What, that the world doesn't revolve around your pronoun?

However, all of this is veering very far off the topic of this movie for which this thread was intended and is instead being moved towards me becoming defensive and emotional over my right to exist.


Except nobody is even questioning your right to exist. Nobody is building death camps for tradespeople. I don't think even the Muslims are doing that.

I don't care about a troll who doesn't pay for his opinion telling me how to review movies.

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"Currently there are nearly a dozen states in the US attempting to pass legislation that would prevent people like me from using public restrooms."

Not true. The laws I have seen would require a person to use a public restroom of the sex of your birth. You can still use the rest room.

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This was all in fact very informative.

I'm not transgender but I do support the LGBT community with all my heart. When I heard about this movie, I thought the idea was ridiculous. I love Michelle Rodriguez but I don't even think she could make this movie great. I immediately thought about what transgender people would even think about the idea and I just assumed it wouldn't be a positive response. However, yours was very detailed and like I said earlier, informative. You brought up points that didn't even come to my mind. I will say though, that you made an excellent point about:

It perpetuates the idea that trans women are just men who had surgery and now look like women. This is incredibly harmful to trans people.


I totally agree with you on this. I'm no expert on transgender surgeries but I'm educated enough to know that that is completely unrealistic. I know Michelle Rodriguez is no dainty little flower, but she still in no way looks like transgender woman that JUST had surgery.

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This is a great comment full of lots of great points! Thank you for taking the time to write all of this!

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Without intending to pass any definitive judgment on the film, I feel it's worth pointing out its narrative seems to be about a man who gets forcibly stuck in a woman's body. It's not meant to portray the life-saving experience of gender reassignment surgery, but its opposite: the suffering it causes one to be in a body that doesn't reflect one's gender. In that particular aspect (not necessarily any others, either by design or by accident), the film could be said to be in support of transgender causes. There's a number of other aspects to consider in evaluating the film's thematic and ethical worth, but as I said, I felt that was worth pointing out in trying to do a fair assessment of the movie.

"and starring mattjoes as PATRONI"

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You haven't seen the movie and you should remove your "review" ASAP. I understand you are pissed being transgender yourself but your review is a blatantly transparent (no pun intended) knee jerk reaction upon hearing about/seeing the trailer for this film. It has not released yet and if you had seen it at TIFF back in September last year, you would have posted your review sooner. Take it down as it just highlights you as a person who's judging a book by its cover and I'm sure you wouldn't want to be judged that way so why not give it a chance and write a proper review when the film official releases.

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I've updated my review with a disclaimer stating that it is my opinion based on information presented in the trailer. It is more a review of the movie's concept and overtly transphobic themes, not the movie itself. If you feel that it breeches IMDB's standards feel free to report it and if it gets taken down on account of that I won't have any hard feelings.

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Who thought this plot was a good idea??


whoever it was is a freaking moron that's for sure.

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It clearly doesn't set out to be realistic... It's just a genre movie with a crazy premise... It's no less un-representative or unrealistic as John Wick, Crank, or any number of B-movie-premise genre movies that people watch for fun fully aware that it is not representative of the real world...

You clearly haven't seen the film since a lot of the issues are addressed quite interestingly by the Dr that is played by Weaver in this movie (the antagonist to the anti-hero protagonist)... She even articulates how her actions are distinct from the treatments she gives her regular patients and her motivations for running this experiment on an unwilling subject... And she is also, out of her mind... It's just a movie, not a documentary, not a political call for action, not an analysis of where the culture is, nor does it set out to be any of those things...

Hell, even one of the characters in the movie says that art should be concerned only with itself and not the real world (politics, ideology, truth, etc...)... It's clearly poking fun at itself and not a serious movie...

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