Tomboy, the Movie

by julie swanson

This is a beautiful film about a 10-year-old girl who finds herself in a position where she can pretend she’s a boy so she decides to enjoy that and get away with it for as long as she can. It’s quiet, yes, simple, spare, in French with subtitles…but if you are/were a tomboy, or if you know one and want to understand her better, you’ll want to watch this. I loved it. Can’t say I could relate to all of the main character’s experiences in the movie, her motivations, the things she did–there are as many different types of tomboys as there are anything else–but the basic essence of being a tomboy that it portrays, yes, and this does that better than maybe anything I’ve ever watched or read. It was so true, so honest, very touching. I asked my husband to watch it (and he did, willingly and with interest) because I thought it might help him understand my childhood better, and thus me, and maybe some of his players–past, present, or future.

What’s it rated? I don’t see that it is, maybe because it’s a foreign film. An online review classifies it as  G. However, one of the 4-star blurbs in the movie poster (below, too small to read here) says, “One of the great films made by adults for adults about children.” So maybe you’d want to check it out before letting your kid(s) see it. I don’t recall there being anything in it that I wouldn’t let my kids see when they were the age of the main character, but people have different ideas of what’s
appropriate. The theme of the movie is, well, I’m not exactly sure of the right term–gender identity, gender confusion, gender-role confusion, maybe even gender identity disorder (hate to label anyone, even a fictional character). If gender’s a sensitive subject for your child, she might feel awkward watching it with you, or might get emotional (which isn’t necessarily bad). The movie is sweet, bittersweet, but I can see where it could make someone uncomfortable if it hit a raw nerve/too close to home. As a kid, I definitely would’ve wanted to watch the movie, but not with anyone else, or maybe just my sister. But I can just as easily imagine a gender-variant girl who might be delighted to watch this movie with her parents/family, so they could see what it was like for her, and that she wasn’t the only girl who wished she could be one of the boys.