One of the best films of 2011, Céline Sciamma’s second full-length feature is a fine example of the value of a sensitive and conscientious filmmaker.
One of the best films
of 2011, Céline Sciamma’s second full-length feature is a fine example of the
value of a sensitive and conscientious filmmaker. When dealing with
sensitive issues such as sexuality and sexual identity it takes a sensitive eye
and careful touch. Fortunately Sciamma is a filmmaker with an abundance of
While the film is an imagining of the world of a pre-teen
child, the obvious themes of sexuality and identity are of a more adult nature
than the strictly child orientated story would immediately suggest. Sciamma is concerned
with the fact that children, not just adults, are in conflict with who they are
and who they want to be. Tomboy is an adult film, not in the sense that
there is ‘adult’ content, but that there are mature themes and issues. Tomboy is
a wonderfully crafted and presented film that a wide range of audiences can
appreciate for its study of the perils of growing up.
When a young family move into a new home, the eldest child,
Laure, seems wary of their new surroundings. When Laure finally strikes up the
courage to speak to some local children, she introduces herself to a local girl
named Lisa. When Lisa asks her name, Laure coyly announces her name is Mickaël, therefore leading Lisa and the rest of the group
to believe that she is a boy. Eventually, Laure has to come up with more
elaborate ways have hiding her true gender, until inevitably the truth is
Though Tomboy was one of the best theatrical releases
of 2011, the DVD and Blu-ray really emphasises what a glorious film this is for
home consumption, Gentle, sweet and moving, Tomboy lends itself more to home comfort viewing than the big screen and
is a perfect rainy Sunday afternoon film. It would not be a surprise that younger
audiences may not at first find the appeal Tomboy, but when you think of all
the ‘educational’ movies that you watched at school, Tomboy could certainly find a place in the classroom and capture younger
imaginations in this way.
In this reality parents aren’t always understanding of their
child’s choice of sexuality or gender, as it only shocks and disappoints them.
One lesson that Sciamma is intent on pointing out is the harm that lies and
deceit can cause to others and not just yourself. Hiding your true self or
sexual identity is nothing to be ashamed of, and openness can lead to a liberal
and tolerant reality.
Tomboy is a classic
uplifting comic-drama that takes you back to the years where as a child most of
us were growing into who we are. Creating personas and alter egos is only a way
of attempting to fit in and conform, whereas Tomboy champions the value of being who you are and following your true
identity. Tomboy is a great film
parable for all of us to follow and learn from.