- Movie Rating -

Kokomo City (2023)

| July 28, 2023

Smith’s Kokomo City is the kind of film that makes you grateful for the documentary form. At a moment when new voices are crying out to be heard, it is often found that certain voices are silenced for fear of the backlash from the larger portion of the population. At this juncture, it is difficult to imagine where else you might hear and feel the experiences of black trans sex workers.  You don’t get that on NBC.

Made with flair, style and a certain gravitas, Kokomo City centers on the lives of sex workers living in Georgia and New York.  We meet Daniella from Queens, Dominique Silver from Manhattan, Koko Da Doll from Atlanta and Liyah Mitchell from Decatur.  The experiences of these women are laid bare in a confessional that takes us inside their inner lives, the clients that they meet (very often, we learn, straight married men) and a bit of their philosophy.  There is even conversation about the dangers of their profession: the movie opens with Liyah laying out a close-call situation in which the man came packing a gun, which led to a physical altercation and then an offer to meet up later.

Mostly the film just lets them talk.  The often-confused “normal” world outside enters the domain of sex workers who are comfortable in their own skin while often not being comfortable themselves.  What we come to learn is that the rules and the outlook on trans woman (especially black women) comes with a variety of outlooks, opinions and ever-changing values.  What is interesting is that since we are taken inside their world, it is the outside world that seems strange and unusual.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(2023) View IMDB Filed in: Documentary