Port Authority is Danielle Lessovitz directorial debut feature. The film is about a love story sets in New York between two people from opposite worlds. It is the story of Paul (Fionn Whitehead), a lost and troubled young man who arrives in New York from Pittsburgh to stay with his half-sister. He left his foster family while on probation, hoping this move will offer him new opportunities, a better life, and a way to leave behind his troubles. As he awaits his sibling at the bus station, he notices a lively group dancing and voguing on the outsides’ steps. One of them catches his eyes. He will later find a way to meet this beautiful and magnetic woman named Wye (Leyna Bloom).
Paul realizes he is alone since his sister is nowhere in sight nor answering his texts. He thus decides to find solace and warmth by spending the night sleeping in trains. Unfortunately, the freshly arrived transplant will soon get an overview of the brutal reality of homelessness and loneliness in a city like the Big Apple. He is harassed by a group of men and, like Phoenix’s Joker, he has anger issues, and unwisely decides to fight back. Sadly, he is outnumbered by his attackers, so things were looking seriously bad for him. Luckily, a street guy steps in to help him. The blond-haired streetsmart helper is Lee (McCaul Lombardi oddly playing another “street rats” type with dubious moral after American Honey and Patti Cake$.) Lee takes Paul under his wing, becoming his “street mentor,” brings him to a young men shelter, and offers him a gig for money.
“…the freshly arrived transplant will soon get an overview of the brutal reality of homelessness…”
The problem is that Lee’s job offering is shady, so Paul is not comfortable and morally conflicted, but he does not have a choice. Lee crew consists of toxic – and overtly homophobic – white dudes pretending to be either ICE, working for landlords, or some sort of eviction/rent collection agency. The group goes around town targeting specific apartments, and menacing or blackmailing low-income tenants. Most of their victims are powerless people of color and immigrants unsure of their rights, or fearful of these, borderline, white-supremacists-looking boys.
Meanwhile, Paul is depressed and not at ease at the shelter after witnessing violent acts and prejudices. But his life is turned upside down when he finally finds Wye at a kiki ballroom dance practice. As the only cis-white guy in the room, Paul is not welcomed, but his connection to Wye is nearly immediate. They become close friends, and soon enough, lovers. Wye welcomes him into her ‘house’ and introduces him to her home as well as her ‘house mother and brothers.’
"…a love story sets in New York between two people from opposite worlds."