The excellent documentary 'Becoming Chaz' is an engaging and educational look at one person's journey to make his outsides match his inside. The public eye has been on Chaz (née Chastity) Bono since he was a blond moppet on his parents' variety show, 'The Sonny and Cher Show.' Although Chaz officially came out as a lesbian in '95, it took him much longer to come to terms with his transgender identity. Despite his shyness and a lifetime of discomfort (to say the least) in his own body, Chaz opens up his life, his home and his history for this warm, moving and funny documentary.
Directors and executive producers Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato ('The Eyes of Tammy Faye,' 'Party Monster,' 'Inside Deep Throat') have done an excellent job with the massive amount of information, footage and photos at their disposal. The documentary juxtaposes everyday shots of Chaz and his partner Jennifer Elia with black-and-white studio-set interviews with Jennifer and Chaz, scenes from the Sonny and Cher show and interviews with family and friends to create a fully three-dimensional, unflinching portrait of Chaz's transition. Chaz and Jennifer talk openly about Chaz's disconnection from his breasts, noting they were off-limits during sex or even cuddling. Jennifer grapples openly with the change in her lover and his "testosterone energy" and "manness." We're even treated to the intimacy of Chaz post-surgery and the eventual unveiling of his new chest and all the after-care that entails. From Chaz's struggle with an addiction to painkillers after his girlfriend Joan's death to the couple's everyday squabbles, nothing is too sacred.