Title Card - Port Authortiy (2021)

In the heart of New York, a Pittsburgh transplant hopes to start a new life living with his half-sister, but when that doesn’t come to pass, he develops a chosen family.

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In the heart of New York, a Pittsburgh transplant hopes to start a new life living with his half-sister, but when that doesn’t come to pass, he develops a chosen family.

Director(s) Danielle Lessovitz
Screenplay By Danielle Lessovitz
Where Can You Watch? Video On Demand
Date Released 5/28/2021
Genre(s) Drama, Romance, Young Adult, LGBT
Duration 1 Hour 41 Minutes
Rating R
Noted Cast
Paul Fionn Whitehead
Sara Louisa Krause
Lee McCaul Lombardi
Wye Leyna Bloom

This content contains pertinent spoilers. Also, images and text may contain affiliate links, which, if a purchase is made, we’ll earn money or products from the company.

Film Summary

20-year-old Paul hasn’t much going for him, so leaving Pittsburgh isn’t a big and dramatic move. It’s just about trying to get his s*** together. However, with his half-sister, Sara, not trying to be there for him, Paul finds himself becoming part of the family Lee has made for a bunch of guys who harass immigrants and people on the verge of eviction. Now, is Paul proud of this job? No. However, it pays, and Lee provides him a place to sleep at night.

But when Paul meets Wye and is introduced to a chosen family based on love, support, and expectation of being at your best, this causes a shift in him. Especially because Wye is this dynamic girl whose smile entrances him and makes it, so he struggles to continue to be the type of person Lee is molding him to be. Thus, ultimately, Paul finds himself at a crossroads between who Wye sees him as and who Lee wants him to be.

Things To Note | Question(s) Left Unanswered

  • Reason(s) for Film Rating: Brief nudity, homo-averse language and violence, and implied sex

Review/ Commentary


Wye & Paul

Wye (Leyna Bloom) looking at Paul while laying on his lap
Wye (Leyna Bloom) looking at Paul while laying on his lap

One of the things you appreciate off the bat when it comes to Wye and Paul isn’t only their chemistry but also that neither have a real advantage over the other. Yes, Paul might be white and cis, but he is also homeless and working for a jerk to keep a roof over his head. And while Wye might be a trans woman, she has a home, an adopted family, and a future. So you don’t get an imbalanced power dynamic. Wye and Paul may have different issues, but they are in the same boat.

Because of this, it makes their intimacy all the more sweeter, for they choose each other for reasons beyond ego, desperation, or any need beyond love. Thus making it when you watch Wye lay her head on Paul’s lap, there is a sweetness there which is neither corny nor forced. It feels like two people truly sharing a moment. And even in sex scenes, as tame as you may see them as, and you perhaps questioning Wye’s reasons for forgiving Paul so easily, it pushes you to remember how many passes are given to people who are in your heart. So rather than see Wye as simply a fool, you realize she is a fool in love, and while Paul stumbles, it’s mainly since he is working on a learning curve and struggling to be deserving of Wye’s love and investment.

The Music

Even if you aren’t into ball culture, you have to admit the high energy, emcee necessary music tempts you to vogue, even if in an amateur way. For that rhythm just creeps into your neck, flows into your arms, and helps you realize why ballroom has long had a place in LGBT+ culture. It is a party, a family reunion, and a competition—all with the best music to dance to imaginable.

No Violence Coming To Wye

Lee (McCaul Lombardi) on the subway car he meets Paul on
Lee (McCaul Lombardi) on the subway car he meets Paul on

Trauma plays way too big of a part in LGBT+ stories. If it isn’t violence, it is watching them dehumanized and embarrassed in public. All of which makes it so when introduced to Wye, as well as Lee? It makes you wonder whether Paul will be put into that familiar scenario where he is asked whether he knows Wye or to stand up for her, and he not only drops the ball but denies her existence.

Well, spoiler, that doesn’t happen. No physical harm comes to Wye, and instead, she gets to experience a romance that is complicated more by Paul trying to front and seem worthy of her than her gender identity. This isn’t to say the film is completely void of unnecessary violence, but if you feared anything happening to Wye beyond potentially a broken heart, you’re fine.

On The Fence

The Ending Has An Ellipsis

Paul (Fionn Whitehead) putting his hand against Wye's
Paul (Fionn Whitehead) putting his hand against Wye’s

Beyond the drama that is Paul being in love with a woman who has her act together far more than him, other things are going on. Mainly, issues Lee and the other boys he looks out for cause, and the film ends with Paul doing something about it, but it not being 100% clear what the results of him standing up to Paul are. Note, we get the consequence of the betrayal and see how he tries to move on, but certain questions remain unanswered.


Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing)Recommended

While parts of the ending may not satisfy all, even as Paul faces the consequences, for the most part, Port Authority is the perfect way to start PRIDE month. It features a beautiful and dynamic trans woman as its lead, who isn’t written in such a way to make being trans the sum of her whole character, and she is in this complicated at times but primarily beautiful relationship. One based on the need to feel seen, loved, cared for, and not due to lust or pride. Thus wrapping you up in as envious of a romance as you have ever seen, even when Paul, being the typical guy, screws up.

Hence the recommended label. Port Authority has enough drama, romance, and LGBT+ culture to both standout and show its universal appeal.

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Title Card - Port Authortiy (2021)
Port Authortiy (2021) – Review/ Summary (with Spoilers)
Who Is This For?
Port Authority is for those who enjoy a fairly simply love story, featuring chosen families and a lead character torn between the love of a woman and the path of least resistance that offers survival.
Wye & Paul
The Music
No Violence Coming To Wye
Low Points/ On The Fence
The Ending Has An Ellipsis

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