Sean Baker’s “Tangerine” – 2015 Fantasia Film Review


In “Tangerine” – the fifth feature film by American director Sean Baker – Sin-Dee, a sassy Hispanic transgender prostitute, gets out of jail and very quickly learns that her boyfriend, who doubles as her pimp, has been double-timing her with some fresh “white fish” (“white” as in Caucasian, and “fish” being trans-shorthand for a natural-born woman “with vagina and everything”). Not EVEN about to take that lying down, she decides to hunt down both the fish and the pimp to deliver some righteous wrath upside their skulls – but not without also being certain to attend her best girlfriend Alexandra’s torch song performance at a local bar.  If she has to drag one or both of her targets there by the ear, so be it!

Meanwhile, in a parallel thread of this same universe, an immigrant cab driver with a big ol’ secret passion that he hides from his wife and her live-in mother, picks up a variety of the colorful and the lost, eventually taxiing both stories together at a downscale doughnut shop where he, Sin-Dee, Alexandra, the pimp, the fish and his lovely family all converge for a rough date with truth.

And, oh yes…as you will no doubt read elsewhere, the film was shot entirely on the iPhone 5S. Don’t let that influence you one way or the other though. If you didn’t know that going in, you wouldn’t know it coming out. It’s simply a fantastic film. Not. To. Be. Missed.

“Tangerine” received its Montreal premiere at the 2015 Fantasia International Film Festival on July 14. The festival runs through August 4. For further information, go to