Many people will already be aware of Marsha P. Johnson and her fellow Stonewall veteran Sylvia Rivera. But even those who do will be captivated by this new examination of their lives and Marsha's untimely death in 1992.
The underlying current to this documentary is that transgender people and drag queens were and continue to be pioneers of the movement for LGBTIQ equality. They were, as this documentary states, the vanguard.
Both Marsha and Sylvia were present at the Stonewall riots in 1969. In her ruminations on the subject, Rivera muses that ‘there was a lot of blood shed that night, and the movement started the next day'. Even now, decades later, the movement and the spirit of these two formidable, inspirational women continues.
This mixture of hardship and hope is a beautiful theme across this work, and there is a quirky authenticity to all those involved, from old friends of Marsha, to archival footage, home videos and interviews with Sylvia. It is a beautiful story from David France (How To Survive A Plague, 2013 Mardi Gras Film Festival) told in a respectful, loving way that will inspire even as it breaks your heart.