More noise than signal

Tomboy

This review has been ‘repurposed’ from my other site, theOneliner.com

Moving to a new town with her mother, father and younger sister, the tomboy of whom this title speaks, Laure, takes an unusual approach to making new friends. On seemingly little more than a whim, when approached by Lisa, she gives her name as Michael.

While Laure has, more or less, the physical characteristics to get away with the pretence, it’s only ever going to be a matter of time before the gig is up – particularly with the new school term looming in a few week’s time.

Still, until that day occurs, she’s enjoying her little game, although the difference between what she’d be doing if she was being honest about her gender and the usual games would seem to be little more than a matter of clothing. The duelling freedoms of time and struggles to fill that time that the vast expanses of summer holidays is as well captured here as I have ever seen.

Matters are complicated somewhat by the attraction Lisa begins to show for Laure, astutely observing that she’s not like the other boys. Bearing in mind we’re talking about, if my increasingly addled memory can be trusted, ten year old kids, their relationship is entirely innocent and decidedly non-Larry Clark-esque.

Narratively, there’s not an awful lot more that I can impart to you, and with some skilful storytelling it turns out that there’s very little more that’s required to build a charming and engaging tale. There are more strands to Laure’s life, including hints at jealousy towards her mother’s more traditionally “girly” affection for her younger sister Jeanne, and indeed the relationship between Laure and Jeanne is beautifully realised with a bare minimum of exposition.

Tomboy isn’t in the business of providing answers to the growing pains and identity crises, and it’s only barely in the business of asking the questions. Regardless, it’s a beautifully shot, sympathetically told and outstandingly performed, particularly for so young a cast, film that’s a joy to watch.

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