This always happens. I would see films back to back and somehow there would be a connection between the two of them, and this time I have stumbled upon two films dealing with gender identity.
First up is ‘Girl,’ from Belgium. I know this was their entry last year for Best Foreign Film and I somehow missed this. But I have finally seen it (via Netflix) and I have to say I was quite taken by it. I know that this film has been twinned with some controversy, basically stemming from the lead actor being cast. Since this is a trans role dealing with the trans experience, the community was up in arms over the casting of a cis actor, Victor Polster, in the role of Lara, the film’s protagonist. Controversy aside, I think he plays the role perfectly – so internal, so quietly intense that most times I felt like I was watching a documentary – seeing a real living human being right up there on the screen. The story telling could be all over the place – plots are explored and never followed up – but his performance pulls it all together. There are some cringe worthy parts of the story line – the scene before the ending is worse than anything from a horror movie – but I also felt Lukas Dhont was able to express love, compassion, and acceptance. Hate this, protest it, love it – but definitely see it.
There’s a similar but different kind of identity issue in ‘Tucked,’ from Director Jamie Patterson. The film centers around ‘Jackie,’ a drag queen in a London bar. Jackie is really Jack, played by Derren Nesbitt, and early in the film he has been diagnosed with cancer and is given six months to live. But Jackie is no ordinary drag queen – he is actually a straight man who just likes to cross dress, and he has been estranged from his daughter. Enter Faith (Jordan Stephens) a young up and coming drug performer who has been shunned by his family. He is taken under Jackie’s wing and…well, you don’t have to be a fortune teller to see what happens. This is certainly a smaller film with medium charm, and a big heart. Both its predictability and competent performances make up what makes it appealing – like fabulous glittered comfort food. Wear a boa and enjoy.