The makers of this film really, really want you to know that a young person transitioning from female to male has to deal with a lot. Elle Fanning, Susan Sarandon and Naomi Watts star.

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Good intentions abound in “3 Generations,” a movie about a New York teenager transitioning from female to male, but they lead to a certain overzealousness. The makers of this film really, really want you to know that a young person in this situation has to deal with a lot.

Elle Fanning is the character whose birth name was Ramona but who is well on the way to becoming Ray, a decision that, of course, is fraught with all sorts of obstacles. Bullies send Ray home with a black eye for no particular reason. His own relatives can’t stop referring to him with feminine pronouns. His mother, Maggie (Naomi Watts), tries to be supportive but is still full of doubts. His grandmother Dolly (Susan Sarandon) is in a lesbian relationship and living a life with all the trappings of liberal New York bohemianism, but she, too, is balking.

Movie Review

‘3 Generations,’ with Naomi Watts, Elle Fanning, Susan Sarandon, Tate Donovan.

Directed by Gaby Dellal, from a screenplay by Dellal and Nikole Beckwith. 92 minutes. Rated

PG-13 for mature thematic content, some sexual references and language. Several theaters.

The New York Times does not provide star ratings with reviews.

“Why can’t she just be a lesbian?” Dolly says.

That alone would make for a movie’s worth of material, but “3 Generations,” directed by Gaby Dellal (who wrote the screenplay with Nikole Beckwith), crams in much more. Because Ray is underage, the consent form for the transition requires both parental signatures, and the father (Tate Donovan) has not been part of the family for years. The search for him and his reaction to the request still aren’t enough; the movie adds yet another complication late in the game, a plot twist that strains credulity.

Ray is courageous just for making the decision to change sexes. The film — which, by the way, includes a surprising amount of droll humor — would be better if it trusted the audience to recognize this, rather than piling ordeals worthy of the Labors of Hercules onto its protagonist.