A family moves into a new neighborhood, and a 10-year-old named Laure deliberately presents as a boy named Mikhael to the neighborhood children. It is heavily implied that Mikhael is a closeted transgender boy. This film follows his experiences with his newfound friends, his potential love interest, Lisa, his younger sister and his parents. It focuses in on the significance of gender identity in social interaction from an early age, the difficulties of being transgender and young, and how Mikhael navigates these in the background of childhood play and love.Written by
Script written from April 2010. The main actress was found on the first day of casting. The film was shot in twenty days in August 2010 with a crew of fourteen. See more »
After the fight over the attack on Jeanne - which Laure wins, we see Laure attentively dressing the graze on Jeanne's knee, and adding a blue-coloured sticking plaster (Band-Aid).
In the next scene, when (the un-named) mother finds out that Laure has been passing herself off as a boy, she demands that Laure wear a dress, when they both go to the neighbour to apologise.
Laure is sitting on the bed with Jeanne, but all traces of Jeanne's knee injury, and even the sticking plaster, have disappeared. See more »
It feels like a time gone by of dreamy focused, eternally youthful, summer days: running around in woods, water fights, wrestling, sitting out of football matches, Play-Doh spaghetti, and feeling too scared to stand next to the other boys to pee.
With an approach that is far more Boys Don't Cry than it is Mrs Doubtfire, and by hitting upon gender identity during pre-puberty, a lengthy and distancing make-up job can be avoided.
And so without a rubber nose nor silicone jaw in sight, little Zoé Héran is left stripped bare, literally, to "play boy", with performance alone. And her performance as Laure / Mikael is nothing short of genius.
Masculinity is a hard act to pull off, but pre-pubescent masculinity is such a fine and narrow ledge between forced and feminine that it's incredible that it feels so effortless for a ten year old actress. Compare this to Glenn Close and Janet McTeer in Albert Nobbs, and they feel even more like Little Britain characters than they ever did tearing along the beach screaming "I'm a lady " And they both got Oscar nominations ?
Zoe is surrounded by a cast of unbelievably naturalistic fellow children; her six-year old sister Jeanna, and the relationship they share is so intimate and convincing that every now and then I simply couldn't imagine there being a camera and film crew right up in their playful, cute as a button, faces.
Her burgeoning relationship with new neighbor Lisa, is as delightful as it is frightful, as you know that at some point there has to be a denouncement that Mikael is not all he seems – and for those of you that have experienced it, you thought that finding out your boyfriend was gay was tough?
Maybe, just maybe, it's because they're talking French that the performances and dialogue feel flawless – murmur in Parisian tones underneath sparse subtitles and I'm sold – or maybe it's because elsewhere they just don't grow 'em like they grow 'em in France.
The script, story, direction and cinematography are enviable, and throughout you hold a little silent prayer in your heart that it's not going to end up, like Brandon Teena, in a ditch.
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