With a gentle touch, “Transgeneration” profiles four college students undergoing a shift from one gender to another. What would have been spectacular stuff just 10 years ago is now something closer to a high-quality “Oprah” special, humanizing in rather simplistic terms complex lives that those who are less enlightened continue to view as freakish. Pic reps solid programming for the Sundance Channel from the Fenton Bailey-Randy Barbato docu factory.
Helmer Jeremy Simmons cuts among the quartet of students across the span of two semesters, starting with insecure, nerdy male-to-female Gabbie at the U. of Colorado; then on to female-to-male Lucas at Smith College; foxy male-to-female Raci at Cal State Los Angeles; and Fulbright Scholar and female-to-male T.J., who’s the most politically and culturally radical of the bunch, yet is dogged by his traditional Armenian parents. Each runs into problems (including facing radical hormone therapies) as various as their personalities, but a unifier is what exceptionally smart people they are. Intelligence, and pure nerve, suggest they’re in a better position than less-gifted kids who also feel they were born the wrong sex.