Girl (2018) Poster

(II) (2018)

User Reviews

Review this title
46 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
kay_rock16 June 2019
I see a lot of gender prejudice here from folks who demand that others not be so prejudiced about gender. It doesn't matter whether young Victor Poster is cisgendered, transgendered, or androgynous, the performance in this role is nuanced, vulnerable, and entirely believable. I am shocked that people would criticize either Victor's sexuality or gender identification in their evaluation of the film. Victor is not a poster-child... victor is acting. And doing it beautifully.

Others seem concerned that the film oversimplifies a complex issue. But when you are a 15 year old girl in the wrong body, it is kind of simple. It's one girl's story and experience and pain and fear, not a testament to the entire world of being transgendered. You simply cannot try to cover all issues in one person's story. This is not a story about the general "truth" of being transgendered, it is the story, as titled, of a girl. One girl. One girl's experience.

I felt extremely moved by the end. I hope others appreciate this as a film... a story... and not try to judge it as some sort of manifesto or expect something more of it than it should be.

If we want to normalize all human experience, we need to stop demanding more from projects like this than we would of any other story of personal trauma or tragedy. Every person is unique, every person's life is their own and should stand on its own merits rather than being obligated to represent an entire diverse group.
88 out of 105 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A truly great film with an oscar winning performance
Brusselssprout29 October 2018
The struggles of a 15 year old girl are more than familiar and already well documented but just imagine and add to that the struggle of a girl living inside a masculine body. Every day being confronted with a body that you don't want and don't feel.The film does an extraordinay job of letting you feel all the emotions this courageous girl has to face each day over and over again. The main actor is simply stunning and if there's any justice, he should receive an oscar for this jaw dropping performance. I'm very displeased with comments as "the pacing is too slow" "or "too much repetition". To me there's only one way of discribing the ordinary life of this girl and the director was 100% right with the repetition and the pacing. Every shot is packed with emotion and tells so much. Just watch the faces of the actors and there's more action and emotion than any boring action movie. All the actors are amazing, the father, doctors, students even her little brother are very natural. It almost felt like a documentary but full of emotion. Naturally the transgender community was the first to protest - being gay myself i can say - what's new. The selfhate of - luckily - a small but loud part of the LGBT is that great that each and every attempt at making a book, film, play, etc... about the community is met with derision and has to be fiercely bashed. "Only a transgender actor could have played the role and felt the right emotions": did they really see the film and can honestly say that the emotions and acting are not spot on ? "Too much focus on the physical aspects": really ??? Ask just any 15-year old and they can tell just how much they are obsessed with their appearance, just add to that a girl in a boys' body, then tell me again why you shouldn't focus on the plysical aspects and their emotional impact. If you want to see a truly great film, it's this one.
132 out of 210 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A poignant tale of a young transgender woman that could have benefited from a broader scope.
Doctor_Mongoose6 September 2019
It is difficult to review this film without referring to the performance and casting of Victor Polster as the Girl the title refers to. Both appear to be quite polarising. There seem to be many reviewers who feel his portrayal was brave, emotive and mature as an adolescent ballet dancer going through a transitionary period in her life in more ways than one: moving to a new school and meeting new people, moving to a different apartment, and, of course, the crux of the film, taking the next step in confirming her gender identity by taking hormones with a view to having gender reassignment surgery in the future. There also appear to be many people, mostly people who identify as either transgender themselves or part of the wider LGBT+ community, who think that the performance and casting is offensive and lacks the nuance that only a real-life transgender actor could bring to the role. Personally, I cannot believe I watched the same film as anyone who thinks that his performance was anything less than exceptional.

Ballet as an art-form creates beauty out of pain, patience and practice, and Lara's journey to become a better dancer runs in parallel with her journey to physically become the woman she believes she is. The routine physical exhaustion and bleeding toes she experiences whilst dancing provide a visceral contrast with the emotional challenges of day-to-day living she has to face, such as showering or going to the toilet, whilst living in a body that just doesn't fit. Victor Polster manages to convey these experiences and emotions, showing an intense determination and underlying vulnerability that never spills over into melodrama. The question of whether or not he should have been cast in the role in the first place is moot as it is evident that he was up to the task. Morally I do not see any reason why a non-trans actor cannot play a trans role if they have the ability to do so, in the same way that an actor does not need to have kids to play the role of a father or mother. I believe that he got the role on merit, in the same way that Daniela Vega got the lead role in A Fantastic Woman, because they were the best person for the job.

Where the film falls slightly flat, however, is that there are no other fully fleshed out characters apart from Lara, and although the film focuses around Lara's pain and experiences in the here and now, there isn't always a clear motivation for her actions. It isn't even clear why she is so keen on becoming a dancer in the first place. I'd like to have seen more of the father and younger brother and how their lives were affected by Lara's situation.

Ultimately it is a painful portrait of a young woman fighting to be who she wants to be that could have benefited from widening the scope and delving into the lives of other characters more in order to give more weight to the situations Lara found herself in. I also feel that the ending, although earned and wincingly effective from an emotional standpoint, didn't provide much closure and left the film feeling unresolved. Having said that, I have a suspicion that this was intentional as stories such as these do not have a cut-off point where the transformation is complete and the only resolution is the acceptance that there is none and that the fight must go on.

Definitely would recommend it.
28 out of 43 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
This is true cinematic brilliance
moveebuff195316 March 2019
Girl is the type of movie that will hopefully open your eyes and heart to the little known challenges that face someone caught in the wrong body. I fell in love with Lana almost immediately because of her sensitive, kind, passionate character. She brings you deep into her world of the pain it takes to hide her unwanted features with such elegance and composure. Even when egged on by fellow dancers she holds in her pain in hope of acceptance. Victor Polster is brilliant as the graceful and beautiful Lana. The determination, blood, sweat and tears it takes to be a ballerina is mind boggling but for Lara it is a passion she is not willing to give up on no matter what it takes.
48 out of 79 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An Emotionally Devastating Coming-of-Age Tale
roblesar9926 September 2018
Emotionally devastating yet reassuringly empathetic, director Lukas Dhont's GIRL tells the story of transgender ballerina Lara as she seeks to complete her transition while struggling to achieve her dreams. Make no mistake, this is a tough film to watch (as exemplified by the cringing noises and gasps from the elderly women sitting in the row behind me), but it's also a rewarding one. Victor Polster delivers some of the best work of the year in his portrayal of the protagonist, and while some will rightly be bothered by the fact that Polster is a cisgender male actor who cannot ever known firsthand the difficulties that someone like Lara would have gone through her entire life, he nonetheless delivers an arresting, sensitive performance that adroitly examines these devastating struggles. And while the film does focus a fair amount on the struggles that Lara faces through her transition, it also highlights her resilience and courage, which define her more than anything else. I also have to point out that it's been a landmark year for movie dads, with Arieh Worthalter fitting right in with Michael Stuhlbarg's dad from CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, Josh Hamilton's dad from EIGHTH GRADE, and Tracy Letts' dad from LADY BIRD. Worthalter shines as a devoting father who desires nothing more than his daughter's happiness.

If there's one thing I disliked about GIRL, however, it's the slow pacing, which I really started to feel during the last fifteen minutes of the film or so. It's only 105 minutes long but each and every minute is certainly felt. I also wasn't the biggest fan of Dhont cutting the music off during certain scenes (let the scene play out, Dhont!). Despite my complaints and the fact that I might not have loved GIRL, I still certainly believe it's worth watching.
52 out of 119 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
bluecolette9 December 2018
The epitome of a movie about a transgender person made by people who are not trans, and clearly have no idea what they are talking about. Yes, it is well shot, yes, the acting is on point. But that's all. The pacing is completely off, with a clear lack of actual story and drama, spending too much time on unnecessary self-harming and boring scenes. The movie shows graphic scenes with no finesse, just for the sake of showing them. I feel terrible for the woman who inspired this movie; they took bits of her life, and used them out of context, making an extremely inaccurate and toxic movie. The ending, which didn't happen to the girl who inspired the movie, is absolutely ridiculous, makes no sense, and is NOT something to be showing to trans people. It is portrayed as a good thing, as what helps her in the end, when it should have been the opposite. Someone could, and probably will, do the same thing as her after seeing this scene. This is a dangerous movie, and for what? Once again people take stories about trans people, turn them into something tragic and inaccurate, to make money, without giving a damn about what it will do to the people who will watch it. Seeing everybody praising it is disgusting and shows the rampant transphobia in today's society, where trans people only exist for cis people's entertainment.
98 out of 242 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Trapped in Another's Body...
Xstal7 May 2020
Following a year or so in the life of a teenager and the dilemmas faced as they struggle being somebody they're not. Sincerely and genuinely presented, although you will have to scrape your eyebrows off the ceiling toward the end as life's frustrations become all too overwhelming.
14 out of 28 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Not bad but very disappointing
yongfilmcritic17 January 2019
I missed girl in Cannes where everyone was talking about. Finally watched the film which I was very disappointed. it was not bad but certainly bloated by everyone. Transgender or not it is ultimately a meager story and a little Boring and soulless.
58 out of 144 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Boring and soulless
bert-huys-242-35575515 December 2018
I am from Belgium but I don't agree that Girl deserves an Oscar nomination. Rundskop (Bullhead), another Belgian movie of 2011 for example, was so much better and did deserve an Oscar nomination. I was so dissapointed after having seen Girl. Apart from the transgender theme, there is not much moving the story forward from a dramatic point of view. A lot of scenes show the ballet classes, and after a while they don't offer anything new to the story. To add a bit of dramatic evolution into the screenplay, there is a shocking incident at the end. But this felt forced, and at that moment, I could really not care anymore what happened with 'the girl'. The lead actor, Victor Polster, never shows any true emotion at all. We also never know why he wanted to change from a boy into a girl. I must also say that I was getting dizzy after all that ballet dancing. Again, there is a lot of hype, around the 'transgender' theme, and this movie just not deserves all the positive critics. The movie is boring and has no soul.
71 out of 182 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
dwade-924699 April 2019
A beautiful, brave & inspiring piece of film making by director, Lukas Dhont. Victor Polster is simply breathtaking as Lara. The subject matter has of course been touched upon many times in recent years but this story inspired by true events left me stunned. Superb performances from the supporting cast & beautifully filmed, it deserves every award that comes to it.
20 out of 44 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Tear jerking and emotional
dascalu_mihai30 October 2018
Straigh, gay or trans, everybody should watch this flick so that we get this transphobia out of the current topics and see people as human beings.

Beautifully narrated and visually impressive, shocking even at some point.
44 out of 109 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The very best of film making ..and story telling.
mjhsimon16 December 2018
Saw this film at the Toronto Film Festival 2018.. Went on my own,sat beside a couple in their 80's..They came,because the wife felt it was a story she wanted to understand. It is a story we all need to understand. I see a lot of film,this story and film moved me deeply. The parent child relationship alone offers much to learn from. My very favourite and most. moving experience fron TIFF 2018.Brilliant performances.
36 out of 88 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Good, not Great
jramalho22 December 2018
First things first: I really enjoyed the movie. Do I think its great? No. But I actually thought the ongoing ballet metaphor (and all the discipline and equilibrium that is involved in classical training) was powerful in showing the development of an "unbalanced" psyche that is trying desperately to cling on to whatever "normal" it can construct. Although certainly repetitive I thought it was inspired,, rather than boring. I also appreciated the non-preachy nature of most of the film, thus I rated it how I rated it. Having now read some of the reviews, I do understand possible objections to the depiction of the characters transition, and how it is shown. But, as in other instances with many other films for many different reasons, I don't know enough to judge. I will be more aware in the future, so for me both film and reviews were very useful.
22 out of 54 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Cis People Once Again Uncritically Adore Negative Portrayals of Trans Women
ashleyinthetrashley8 December 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Positive reactions from critics like the adorations with which this horrifying mess of a film has been showered are certainly not new for this kind of film and its ilk. It brings back memories of Dallas Buyer's Club and the largely uncritical praise it received for its poorly thought out portrayal of a trans woman. And of course, because almost everyone reviewing this piece is cis, they haven't thought through the implications of this portrayal of a young trans girl. It's troubling enough to have yet another man portraying a trans woman. As a young trans woman myself who knows girls who started transitioning around the time the character of Lara is meant to have started, I can definitively say that casting a cis man in this role was naively transphobic at best and malicious at worst. Not only that, but the gratuitous scenes of tucking, bleeding and self mutiliation manage to do nothing but fetishize and fear monger at the same time. This is not even slightly the reality of a young trans girl in this situation. For a more thoughtful response than mine to this disaster of a film
61 out of 175 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Serious simplification of a big theme
wisewebwoman19 March 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Yes, Lara was a seriously troubled 15yo. And there was no serious psychiatric counselling offered? No exploration of her deeper issues? She displayed gender dysphoria at every turn, I wondered if it had something to do with the missing mother who's never mentioned (dead? abandoned? mentally ill?) Lara's obviously physically a young man, performing oddly in his corps de ballet training. Broad of shoulder, large feet and hands and flat chested An oddly disjointed effort, too much awful ballet and enormous bleeding feet and Lara's face. But no denouement apart from the rushed ending which feels tacked on. And well, are we supposed to applaud the mutilation? And she marches off to where, exactly? 3/10
32 out of 85 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Slow- Repetitive-Bad Editing- Bad Ending
djbvk2117 January 2020
My review sums it up- I give it a 5 for other reasons where I would have given it a 3. Acting was good, story line had potential, dialogue was boring.
7 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Extraordinary performance, intense and touching story - a portrait of this complicated and beautiful thing called life
the_donnie29 June 2019
Life is a hardship that each person goes through in a different way - for some, it bares the unsustainable day by day dilemma of not living your true self, in its unique and unapologetically way, regardless of anything or anyone else. This movie, to me, does not try to represent all the transgender people who go through the sex reassignment surgery - it tells a story of one individual, Lara, and her struggles, passion, hope and fear towards her physical and emotional self-expression as a trans woman. It's not an easy movie to watch. Entertaining is not a word to describe it. And yet it's worth every single minute, even with some flaws and imperfections. The most important take away for me is to be more empathetic towards others. Bravo performance by the leading actor.
9 out of 20 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Incredible performance
rene-knecht18 December 2018
Incredible performance of Victor Polster as Lara. Also the other characters were very convincing. The whole movie I was involved and felt empathy for the characters which makes this movie a piece of art.
26 out of 73 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Transgender Blackface
ericaconrick22 January 2019
In the early days of Hollywood, black characters were often depicted using blackface, dark make-up applied to the faces of white actors. The most well-known film that featured blackface was The Jazz Singer (1927) starring Al Jolson.

In the years since, American film audiences and critics alike arrived at a consensus: blackface was a mockery of black people, was deeply offensive, and films using blackface should not be produced or watched. Currently, the only mainstream films using blackface use it for historical or satirical purposes and American audiences would not tolerate a film that attempted to depict black characters by painting a white actor's face.

Despite this, the practice of blackface is alive and well in films depicting transgender characters. While no respectable film maker would cast a white actor for a black character, mainstream producers often cast cis-gendered men, put them in a dress and call them transgender women. Recent films that practice transgender blackface include The New Girlfriend (2014), starring Romain Duris, Anything (2018), starring Matt Bomer and, yes, Girl, staring Victor Polster.

I know that saying this is going to make people who like this film angry, and I know that the writer for Girl was a trans woman who defends the casting (not to throw shade on her, but come on girl, wake up!). But before you unleash your venom on me, gentle reader, let me ask you a question: can somebody explain why Victor Polster in a leotard is morally or ethically different from Al Jolson in blackface? If you can't, then maybe it's time to rethink things.
42 out of 136 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A story about humanity
resireg22 March 2019
I don't consider myself the target audience. I have the feeling that most lgbt movies are targeted to their own group, or to some non conformist female audience. I find that there are hardly any good movies for straight guys (like Philadelphia, C.R.A.Z.Y.), and I believe that many men can only watch movies like this alone, because other people might interpret our liking of a gay movie as an indication of som secret desire, o a hint of some effeminate tendency. The most homophobic judgement I heard so far was from straight female girls, so I avoid ever mentioning that I watched and even liked this movie. For example, when I watched the movie "Priscilla, the queen of the desert" many years ago, it made me disgusted with those bizarre, ultra flamboyant drag queens.

Since I live in an environment that is 99% straight, I never had any gay or transgender acquaintance (because they always prefered hangjng out with women), so I hve no idea how was thwir lives, upbringing, etc, so films like these help us a lot to see a reality of a tiny group that we only hear about in the news, but hardly ever encounter in real life. First of all, growing up in the 90s, the rule was to choose a group and fit in, so any effeminate boy would segregate himself in the girl's world (even doing P.E. class with them) and we the straight boys have no contact whatsoever with them. So I don't have a clue if they behave masculine at home in order to deceive their parents and brothers for example.

In the world that I grew up, transvestite was a synonim of sex worker, so we associated them with prostitution, drug use and freakiness. The fact that som many of them were selling themselves in the sidewalk meant that a lot of men are aroused and attracted by them, at the same time that I heard stories about groups of young guys getting together to phisically harm them, so there is this prejudice, even in me a little bit that they are to be avoided at any cost.

This movie (Girl) was very eye opening, because it reminded us that these people have fathers, brothers just like us, and they behave lime a normal family. In the movie, we cheer and support Lara, because we want her to become a woman , with hormones and reassignemnt surgery in order to fulfill her dreams and become what she want to be. It is incredible hpw the actor convinced me almost all the time that it was a female pwrson when she tending for her brother(she is almost like his mother), cooking for her relatives, so she was not trying to shock or harm her family. In the end she is trying to be happy, make friends, have fun, even date another guy (but I still consider some sort of rape a person to conceal their current sex, because it makes the act non consensual. A man assumes it is kissing and fondling a girl, not a person in trasition).

The beauty of the movie is also the self confidence of Lara or maybe extreme naiveté. Despite not being a girl yet, she does not mind sharing changing rooms, swimming, having sleepovers with other girls, when we know that she will be faced with embarassing questions or requests.

I call it an educational movie.
14 out of 38 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Horst_In_Translation18 November 2018
Warning: Spoilers
"Girl" is (despite the title) a Belgian 105-minute movie from 2018, very recent, and the country's official submission to the Oscars in the foreign language film category. Last year they went with big names Exarchopoulos and Schoenaerts without a lot of success, so this time they are taking a completely different route. We'll see how far they get. It doesn't look too bad at all with the awards recognition the film already received, especially at the Cannes Film Festival. Huge success for director Lukas Dhont who is also one of the writers. In the center of it all is the title character played by Viktor Polster in his very first career performance. He plays a teenager born as a boy who is in the process of transitioning to being a girl in terms of haircut, whom he showers with at school, but also in terms of the medication he takes. It is a pretty heavy film at times. The scene where all the hot girls discriminate against him is painful to watch. But the real heavy moment is towards the end. I won't go into detail, but it is a scene where I as a male just could not keep watching the screen anymore and that happens like once a year perhaps. Shocking stuff, but I guess it shows that I cared a lot about the protagonist's fate at that point. I think the BJ scene is also kinda tough, but this one could have gone all kinds of wrong to be honest and looking at how well it works in the overall picture, it becomes very clear that this is a really well-crafted movie in my opinion. There are no weaknesses. the lead actor is strong yes, but so is the supporting actor who plays his father and he probably not getting nowhere near the credit he should be getting. Minor scenes of discrimination like the clumsy teacher, the father entering the room or the little brother saying the boy's old name add additional quality and controversy. Oh yeah, and lets not forget about the ballet plot. Actually, there are so many ballet scenes in here that people with an interest in said activity can watch the movie for that reason alone I guess. It hurt seeing his bleeding feet. Finally, I would like to mention the very first scene, when we see the main character put earrings in and the father enters the bathroom and asks what the hell he is doing. Initially, you think he refers to him dressing up as a girl, but soon you know better. The father accepted his son's errrr.. daughter's decision and could not be any more tolerant. This is not a film like so many other LBGT movies that relies on cheap uninspired displays of discrimination. These displays here create the character. And the environment. And they never feel fake. I am generally fairly critical on the genre, but this one is a success without a doubt. I wonder how deep it will go atg the Oscars, but I have a feeling the last 9 will be the ceiling. Sadly? It is closer to 4 out of 5 than to 2 out of 4 without a doubt. Go watch it if you get the chance and can stomach the violence. Thumbs up.
19 out of 56 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Important subject, boring script
alieminci15 February 2020
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is about a girl who was born in the wrong body..even tough her father and people around her are very accepting and helpful by the nature of this subject she is very depressed and having a difficult time accepting and living in her body till her operation time. Everything so far seems like a very good story plot ain't it? Yes it is but somehow they managed to make this amazingly fruitful subject into a boring movie. Acting and camera, colors all very nice but not enough. I give 6 because I strongly believe this is an important issue and must be encouraged to be told more
4 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
it can be better than this
sruitasuk21 May 2019
Warning: Spoilers
From the start, till middle, and almost end. This movie can make a good pace, it display how hard-work of this girl what she want to be (ballerina). but in the end, what she lost everything, even the surgery.. and the baddest point of this movie is the end, what is that, after she removed it, and then she happy... what about ballerina that she work so hard? 6/10 for the good start
6 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Good, but not sensational
rubenm28 October 2018
'Girl' was a sensation in Cannes and received rave reviews in the Flemish press. This film is about a teenage girl who wants to be a ballet dancer, but is born with the body of a boy. It is based on a real life story about a transgender ballet dancer, who has publicly endorsed the film.

The film shows the anguish the girl feels about being stuck in the wrong body. She almost can't wait to get female curves. Although she looks very feminine and has the support of everyone around her, the whole process causes severe emotional problems. Moreover, her ballet classes are extremely hard and she isn't exactly an excellent pupil.

The film succeeds in showing what a girl like her has to go through. But nevertheless, I was a bit dissapointed after having seen the film. Apart from the transgender theme, there is not much moving the story forward from a dramatic point of view. A lot of scenes show the ballet classes, and after a while they don't offer anything new to the story. The same goes for the conversations between the girl and the medical team. The doctors encourage her to be patient, she reacts by not saying much in reply. In order to add any dramatic evolution into the screenplay, there is a very shocking incident at the very end. But to me, this felt forced, out of place and overdone. (This scene is, by the way, not based on a real life event).

The lead actor, Victor Polster, is in a way perfect for the role because he has the right androgyn looks. He is also convincing as a shy teenager, not feeling comfortable with a lot of things in life. But on the other hand I found his acting a bit restrained and one-dimensional, he showed little emotion.

The film received criticism for being too obsessed with the physical aspects of being a transgender, and not enough with the emotional side of it. I think this is beside the point, because the only question that really should matter is: is this a good film? My answer to that question is: yes, but not as good as the hype around it makes us believe.
18 out of 58 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Rather disappointing
caisha7 March 2019
The summary and trailer has promised a lot more than was actually delivered. Not once did I felt emotional connection with any of the characters. Pacing and story building were way off. Overall it felt like a plot device for an underlying ideology rather than personal drama.

I would rather recommend watching "Una Mujer Fantástica" for the topic of trans experience,
11 out of 32 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed