While surfing Netflix the other night, I happened upon the 2014 movie, Boy Meets Girl. Written and directed by Eric Schaeffer, this romantic comedy examines some of the issues faced by a young trans woman (Michelle Hendley) living in the southern states. I love this movie. It’s engaging and heartwarming and covers a lot of important ground in a humorous and sensitive way. That said, I do feel that its heartwarming tone presents an almost utopian ideal that is at times unbelievable and a little too saccharine for my taste.
The story begins by revealing the bond between the protagonist, Ricky (Hendley) and her best friend, Robby (Schaeffer). They’ve been friends since grade school and have the kind of close relationship that makes it easy for them to joke about almost anything. Some of the most entertaining scenes in the movie are built around conversations Ricky and Robby have with regards to sex and what makes a person gay or straight. The dialogue is excellent and I found myself laughing a lot.
When Ricky meets her wealthy and engaged-to-be-married love interest, Francesca (Alexandra Turshen), the plot’s focus turns to exploring the importance of living the life you want to live instead of the life that is expected of you. This theme is visited again and again in many forms. Some of the related messages are, “do what makes you happy”, “you are perfect in every way” and “life’s too precious to waste”. While I don’t deny that these are important and sage points to be shared, I found myself growing a little tired of the repetitive reminders. I wonder if the movie might have been a little more believable if the characters were less committed to these assertions and struggled a little more with their individuality.
The issues of transgender, loneliness, and self-harming weave in and out of the film in innovative ways via the portrayed use of technology and social media. These provide a really effective platform for introducing the subjects; perhaps because they serve to acknowledge the painful stuff without shifting the focus of the film from the more feel-good message of love and acceptance. There is a point at which these issues do come to the forefront and mingle with the relationship between Ricky and Robby. I won’t give too much away here but it’s at this point that I feel the movie really deviates from a realistic outcome. On the other hand, what’s wrong with a little bit of feel-good fantasy?
I would definitely recommend this movie. I hope it opens the door to more projects that look at trans issues in such a caring and positive way.
Check out the trailer for Boy Meets Girl: