Friday, July 6, 2012

Tomboy (2011)

Directed By: Céline Sciamma

Starring: Zoé Héran, Jeanne Disson, Malonn Lévana

The Main Review: Tomboy, released in 2011, follows a genderqueer ten-year-old who moves into a new neighborhood and uses her anonymity to pass as a boy for a summer. Laure becomes Mikael when with friends and is closeted at home. It's said to be a story about the complexities of gender. A nice, French coming-of-age trans-flick.

Wait a second. It's a French film? But French films often have such unfulfilling endings! Oh, God dammit.

At the beginning of the film, Laure has just moved into a new neighborhood with her father, pregnant mother, and absolutely adorable younger sister, Jeanne. Laure meets Lisa, one of the girls in the neighborhood, who mistakes her for a boy. Laure tells Lisa that her name is Mikael. Mikael and Lisa go to play with the other kids and things seem fine. Lisa and Mikael even seem to have a cute little childhood romance thing goin' on - they even kiss (twice!).

Eventually, Jeanne finds out that her sister has been telling everyone she's a boy. However, after Mikael promises to take her out to meet his friends, she becomes his biggest ally. She talks about how great her big brother is and cuts his hair so their mom won't suspect anything. It's damn cute, really.

Here's Where It Gets Spoilerific: In defense of his little sister, Mikael gets into a fight with another boy. That boy's mother takes this up with Mikael's mom. Mikael's mother then forces him to wear a dress and  tell the boy he beat up and Lisa that he's actually a she. After this, Laure is found by the Lisa and the boys and Lisa checks to see which gender she really is.
The next scene is of Laure not wanting to go out. Her mother is asks if she wants to play with the other children and Laure is definitely not up for that idea. However, from her window, she sees Lisa, who gestures for her to come outside. Once there, Lisa asks what her real name is. Laure responds with her birth name and then smiles. The movie ends.


Scenes To Watch Out For: Jeanne telling another little girl about her super swell big brother. It's adorable.

Laure/Mikael's mom telling him that she's totally fine with him being a boy and that her forcing him to wear a dress and tell his friends so abruptly is a good idea. None of that seems like a lie or anything.

Anything Else: I can't really tell how I feel about the ending. On one hand, this could be a statement about gender fluidity. It could be saying that Laure learned to be comfortable as a boy and as a girl. However, due to how much Mikael liked being Mikael and wanted to hold onto that, I almost feel as though this little boy is being forced to be a girl at the end of the film just so he can be accepted. Due to the way the film just ended, I really cannot tell what was being said. (And this is why I just love, love, love French films.)

As an odd side note, the synopses for Tomboy each seem to tell a different story. IMDb claims that this is a movie about a little girl who gets mistaken as a boy and gets stuck in that misunderstanding, too embarrassed to correct anyone. On the other hand, Netflix says that Tomboy is about a girl who's uncomfortable as a female and decides to become Mikael. If that's not a weird difference, I don't know what is. 

No comments:

Post a Comment