LFF Film Review: Girl (2018)

 – Victor Polster gives the most heartbreakingly genuine emotion in search of one’s self.

From the first ten minutes, as an audience, I believe that we all assumed they are a happy couple with a little boy. Until we see her at the doctor taking the examinations, the reality comes out shockingly. Such an irony, before we see her half-naked, no one would ever have a doubt about her biological gender or sense anything different from other ballerinas. Well, now you know—he/she is on one’s way to becoming a transgender woman. I can feel that suddenly everything is different; I already start to pity him/her. That’s the point, isn’t it? We, in this world, are still on our progress of acceptance of anyone other than yourself.

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You can say that this is another coming-of-age film, except that Girl makes you live in it, too. The whole movie, from the actors, cinematography to the way story is unfolded, is immensely real; I almost thought this could be a documentary at one point. Victor Polster, playing the main character, acts effortlessly through the movie. Being a teenage boy and a girl at the same time, Polster walks between genders and manifests the pain and obstacles. Moreover, all the dance scenes are intense and exhilarating. Ballet in the movies is always breathtaking to watch. In this film, that they used hand-held to shoot the twirling, especially when she is feeling sick and nearly pass out, makes the audience feel nauseous as well, in addition to the bleeding feet afterwards.

Besides her father, it seems that all the friends and relatives are utterly open-minded about the transgender process. However, it is set in a high-school age; there will be peer pressure and the typical teenagers being teenagers. The cruelest scene, not even the fact that she needs to tape her genital so that it won’t be too obvious in the ballerina tights, is the girls’ sleepover scene. Their innocence and ignorance diminish her faith at once. The pain and hatred she feels towards her very own body are extremely upsetting. Under the enormous stress of the upcoming ballet recital, the unclear treatment, and barely having any friends, she finally has a breakdown without anyone even detecting anything unusual.

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