The high school senior Kelsa (Eva Reign) finds pleasure in discussing the animals she loves on her YouTube channel, seeking comfort in the fact that their names tend to be derived from what makes them unique. The detail sticks out in the actor, singer and author Billy Porter’s pleasant and diverting feature film directorial debut, “Anything’s Possible,” which is now streaming on Amazon Prime. Both intentionally and otherwise, the young adult romantic comedy scuffles with — and tries to unpack the implication of — uniqueness.
It’s on YouTube that Kelsa also discusses and documents her experiences transitioning, and while she is nominally out at school, she feels most comfortable talking about this facet of her life on camera. Kelsa’s mother (Renée Elise Goldsberry) loves and supports her, but out of fear that her transness will define her or she’ll be instrumentalized for “woke points,” she usually avoids talking about it.
That starts to change when she meets a cool, cute, and sensitive artist boy, Khal (Abubakr Ali). As romance blossoms, their relationship forces them to examine their responsibilities, and what they can and cannot elide in the real world, where there is friction between self-preservation, allyship, community and (the implication of) harmful political contexts.
At times, it feels like Reign and Ali are struggling to make their charming chemistry discernible under Porter’s internet-addled but unremarkable hand. Both are able to play naturally to the camera, Reign with a bewitching smirk and Ali with pensive eyes. Yet what could be sharply defined in their performances is more rough hewed.
The movie gets bogged down in contradiction, like its protagonist: Uncertain of how central its identity politics and their impact should be, it wants its stakes to be high enough to be a believable teen watch, but it also just wants to let the human quality of its story shine. Unlike its lead characters, “Anything’s Possible” never quite figures out if it wants to be distinctive or just another kid at school.
Rated PG-13 for language, thematic material, sexual material and brief teenage drinking. Running time: 1 hour 36 minutes. Watch on Amazon Prime Video.