What would you do if you found out that a cosmetic surgery that you had done thirty years ago was now affecting your health? How far would you go to find the necessary answers and take action so you could feel healthier and safer in your own skin? Director Jeremy Simmons’ Explant follows one woman’s determination for a doctor who will not only validate her health concerns but believe that she has the right to be believed and taken seriously.
Michelle Visage isn’t shy about loving her body. Explant features clips of the beloved judge talking about her breasts and even showing what true breasts look like. The reason why audiences have loved Michelle for so many years on Drag Race is her unadulterated honesty, but also her thirst for answers. She has been feeling ill for many years, and a deep dive on social media led her to finding thousands of women who felt the same way and they all had one thing in common: they all elected to have breast augmentation surgery.
Simmons wisely does two things that makes Explant such a fascinating and pulse-quickening watch. Visage is glorious and magnetic on screen. As a judge on the biggest drag stage in the world, she wants the queens to succeed, and we want the same for her as she tackles her explant surgery journey. She answers questions from her daughter, Lola, about how removing her breasts will potentially tarnish her busty brand, but the most important thing is how Visage feels in her own skin. The second is how much this doc dives into the very public history of breast implants in the media. We see the rise of Anna Nicole Smith (when someone asks her if he can have her breasts, she quickly retorts, “I’ll give you my doctor’s number.”
Frank Gerow was the godfather of implants in Houston, Texas in the early 1960s, but testimonials from other patients and neurologists suggested that he was obsessed with enlarging a woman’s shape. One of his former patients details how he told her that her body wasn’t perfect as it was.
Explant will anger you because of the lack of honesty and transparency towards the women who are now suffering. It’s even more maddening coming off an entire year where a deadly pandemic wasn’t taken seriously by the previous administration. Everyone has the right to be told the truth and everyone has the right to be listened to.
Explant premieres at the Tribeca Film Festival at Home on June 13