One of the high points of this documentary on the comedian Julia Scotti’s ‘journey’ is when she has just had a very successful appearance on America’s Got Talent TV Show. Howie Mandel, one of the judges summed her up perfectly when he screamed out enthusiastically ‘You Are A Joy’.
This new documentary, the directing debut of Susan Sandler (writer of Golden Globe nominated Crossing Delancey) is the compelling story of how Julia Scotti found her ‘truth’. This unassuming middle-aged very funny comedian is so shockingly honest and is disarmingly charming, that we soon realise that Mandel had maybe even understated it.
In his middle 40’s Rick Scotti eventually realized that his own unhappiness and bad life choices had in fact been part of his gender dysphoria (not a term used much back in the 1980’s ). Scotti’s decision to transition at the age of 47 with hormonal treatments and surgery brought her a mixture of both happiness and pain.
The latter was because suddenly former wives turned away, and the mother of Scotti’s two children got full custody and refused to allow her any contact with them. Former colleagues turned their backs and Scotti’s once successful career completely dried up,
As depressing as this all was, Scotti is still able to recall it now on camera. Her eyes are filled with sadness as she talks about this tough passage which lasted for the best part of a decade, but there is not a hint of bitterness. Her willingness to take responsibility for all the consequences of her transition shows a remarkable humility and honesty, that make us admire her even more.
Her rebound years later when she went back to playing the Comedy Club circuit demonstrates her ability to truly accept her sense of worth. Even more important is her reconciliation with her now grown-up children, and her particular closeness with her son Dan. Now she is finally enjoying the sense of joy that she has been generously giving her audiences for years.
At the beginning of the film Scotti makes a point of wondering out loud why people would be even interested in seeing a film about her life, which in the scheme of worldwide things, she feels is not that important. She is of course wrong. Her willingness to mentor young trans and share her story in a community that is desperately short of role models could not be more crucial She is after all a perfect role for us all who have to deal .
(P.S.Currently streaming NEWFEST NYC for future screenings https://www.juliascottistory.com/)