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Trans Film Review: Tomboy

Heart Shaped Flowers

You’d think while being sick the past few weeks, I would’ve been watching hordes of trans films to fulfill my every need, and pique all of your ts film-reviewing curiosities. And as a cautionary measure, I would have watched those films while I was sick, and not after, so that I could gather and form ideas from my celluloid-driven brain. Alas, summoning up the strength to watch and review one, I am glad I picked the one I did. I was lucky. Here we have, Tomboy.

Tomboy takes place during a ten-year-old girl’s (Laure) summer holiday. Laure has just moved into a quiet new neighborhood away from Paris, with her outgoing six-year-old sister (Jeanne) and two parents. We are introduced to Laure as an already comfortable tomboy who has a perfect, sensible male haircut and wears oversized t-shirt and shorts. With this comfort, Laure travels outside the home to insert herself into the daily sports activities the neighborhood boys play. She introduces herself as Mickael.

Because of her already adapted-tomboyish self, Laure seems to have little to contemplate in order to fit in even further. After the first day of joining in the boy-centred games, Laure goes home to examine herself in the mirror to ensure her body can truly pass as a boy.

As Laure is successful at joining in the skins-and-shirts summer games the next day, she is further habituated as a boy by battling it out with a fellow male. Laure not only wins the fight, but wins the heart of a local young girl, who then become boyfriend and girlfriend.

Through the simple yet complex nuances of gender confusion, Laure’s alter-ego life is tested to the fullest when her mother finds out about her newly acclaimed identity.

With its beautiful scenic shots and sparsely-written script, Tomboy is all at once simple, complex, straightforward, and poetic. Although the conversation was kept to a minimum, the wordless communication between the three children was enough to fully engage the viewer as it was a meaningful dialogue on childhood and gender confusion.

“This is a relationship movie: relationships between children, and the even more complicated one between one’s heart and body.” – Rotten Tomatoes

Check out the Tomboy trailer:

Director: Céline Sciamma
82 min, 2011

Read: review of Transamerica

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