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Excellent independent film with strong performances and touches of humour
The basic storyline of '52 Tuesdays' is summarised by IMDb and Wikipedia, so I won't rephrase this yet another time.
Viewers (like myself) might initially be skeptical of what appears to be a gimmick in the film - all the action takes place on Tuesdays - but after the first 5-10 minutes, it's clear that some Tuesdays are explicitly weighted more heavily than others, and the film is actually well organised and paced. In fact, the technical constraint of "every Tuesday" allows for novel kinds of intrigue to develop around the lives of the central characters, Billie and James.
The substantial drama of the film revolves around parallel issues relating to gender and identity in the lives of James and Billie, both played by non-professional actors who are utterly convincing (Billie becomes especially interesting in the second half, and James is compelling throughout). There are still only a handful of widely-circulated films around transgender issues, and many focus either explicitly on discrimination or on "coming out" narratives, both of which are extremely important themes rarely considered by Hollywood. Nevertheless, one original feature of this film is its more subtle exploration of James' own sense of selfhood and intimacy, especially as the medical aspects of transitioning become more complex. The attention paid to shifting familial relationships (including some quite devastating interpersonal crises), as well as the subtle exploration of adolescent sexuality, make for many surprising turns and rewards as the film develops. The film also retains some humour at crucial moments, and benefits from a restrained use of soundtrack, so the drama never feels heavy handed.
It's also worth noting that as an independent Australian film, certain cinematographic conventions may seem disorienting to viewers not familiar with this form of social realism. Nevertheless, this is not 'Snowtown' or 'Bad Boy Bubby' - '52 Tuesdays' does not exploit graphic sex or violence to shock its viewers, and keeps the focus on character development.
Overall, very strongly recommended.
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