Inspired by the real life story of Nora Monsecour. Lucas Dhont brings us a beautiful coming of age debut feature, exploring the emotional and physical complexity of transitioning gender for young people.
Starting at one of the most prestigious dance schools in Belgium, Lara (Victor Polster) not only contends with the tough training of the ballet school, but also with her physical and emotional transition in gender.
Providing us with a transgender coming of age story Lucas Dhonts debut is not without its controversy. Especially in casting a young cis male actor in the main role. However, despite these debates. This is a film that offers us a truly immersive journey, and a huge step forward in transgender lives on screen. Film carries a unique power to change public perception and understanding, and Girl does that with beauty and engaging performances that offer true emotional resonance.
Victor Polsters performance is exceptional, a nuanced and deeply emotional portrayal of a transitioning teen, showing a complexity of emotions and feelings alongside an urgent desire to lead a full new life. Within the performance we grow with Lara, feeling her pain, her joy and her urge to complete the transition already begun. Powerful teenage emotions are set to a backdrop of gruelling and beautiful ballet, the struggles of body conformity, change and dance interwoven into a breathtaking and urgent piece of intimate filmmaking.
Family life for Lara is full of love, support and warmth, never playing to dated stereotypes, but at the same time demonstrating the isolation of teenage emotions even in families of great support. Lara’s dad (Arieh Worthalter) is full of care and love for his daughter, while also feeling powerless to speed up her transition and ensure her happiness.
Sexual awakening, peer groups and gender identity are handled with care, while also allowing the audience to develop their understanding of the challenges faced by transgender young people in a society of set gender boundaries.
Shot mainly on handheld cameras the film offers an intimacy that enables the viewer to truly bond with Lara, sharing her journey, family life and passion for ballet.
Girl is an accomplished feature debut that provides a transgender coming of age story full of emotion, heart and tenderness. Breaking down walls rather than building them; Girl is an important step forward in transgender stories on screen.