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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars delightful but with sad undercurrent
Celine Sciamma already showed her sensitivity in working with adolescents in Water Lilies, which was a startlingly intense survery of the emotional landscape of three teenage girls; here she finds a lighter tone, at least for much of the film, which is appropriate to the younger age group. She seems to capture brilliantly how ten-year-olds behave and think (as far as I...
Published on 16 Oct. 2012 by schumann_bg

versus
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars tomfoolery
not worth even viewing lot of nonsense
Published 3 months ago by doreen paterson


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars delightful but with sad undercurrent, 16 Oct. 2012
By 
schumann_bg - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Tomboy [DVD] (DVD)
Celine Sciamma already showed her sensitivity in working with adolescents in Water Lilies, which was a startlingly intense survery of the emotional landscape of three teenage girls; here she finds a lighter tone, at least for much of the film, which is appropriate to the younger age group. She seems to capture brilliantly how ten-year-olds behave and think (as far as I can judge), and keeps the adult world somewhat at a distance, even though it is certainly a film for adults. The two central performances are really something to marvel at - two sisters, the older of whom is passing herself off as a boy in their new neighbourhood. Of course it can't last, but Laure, or Mickael, as she is known outside the house, is a most winning presence and shown to be a remarkably sensitive child, very protective of her sister as an older brother might be. The treatment she is subjected to is upsetting because it feels so wrong; she really is fine just as she is, but society cannot handle such a blurring of the genders. Even the children seem to find it unacceptable, largely, especially the boys, indicating how early these gender roles are established and how strong the need to conform to them really is. The real coup, apart from the extraordinary sensitivity of Sciamma's camera, is Zoe Heran's performance, which is little short of miraculous; I kept feeling what a wonderful child she was, different from the others but empathic and kind, as well as boyish, to an exceptional degree. It makes you sad to realise how many tribulations a child like Laure must go through on the path to adulthood, and how damaging all that is, but a film like this can only help towards greater acceptance. The camera tends to show the young cast a lot in close-up, mirroring the immediacy of their world and its focus on immediate surroundings. On a lighter note, it is very nice to see Mathieu Demy - son of Jacques Demy and Agnes Varda - taking the role of the father with a wonderful gentleness and paternal love.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Viewing, 10 Dec. 2011
This review is from: Tomboy [DVD] (DVD)
This is a fantastic movie.

In celebrating the last, perfect, unrepeatable summer of the titular 'Tomboy' we join a group of kids having the kind of childhood adventures we all imagine we had, or wish we could have experienced. You are swept along with the growing confidence of Michael as he realises he can successfully pass; his cautious exhilaration is intoxicating and absolutely sincere.

This film does not shy away from tackling the issues which cannot be ignored when talking about trans kids. Watching children's easy acceptance and tolerance be gradually inhibited by adults' fear makes this captivating and, at times, terrifying viewing.

No review of this film would be complete without talking about Zoé Héran's SPECTACULAR performance in the lead role. I kept catching myself mistaking this film for fact and reminding myself it was not; so convincing, honest and natural was her performance! An actress this young cast in such a challenging, understated role and pulling it off so completely is something I've never really seen before - the only comparison I can think of is Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver [DVD] [1999], suffice to say, she does justice to both the story and spirit of the film.

Buy it, watch it, tell your friends. You won't regret it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The First Blush Of Innocents, 11 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: Tomboy [DVD] (DVD)
I debated with myself for months before buying this film, but I love the film 'Ma Vie En Rose', about a little boy who wants to be a little girl, so I was curious to see how the story of a little girl who wants to be a little boy might be handled. I suppose therefore, maybe I bought this film as an academic companion piece to 'Ma Vie En Rose'.

In either case, the scenario had to be handled sensitively and proficiently by the actors and directors concerned, to avoid their efforts descending into puerile comedic farce. Fortunately, in both cases, this has not happened.

Celine Sciamma's debut as a Director, 'Water Lilies'', was an almost claustrophobically tense dance of adolescent first love, lust, and friendship. This piece, however, retains the freedom and breathtaking joyousness of childhood, without seeking to mask the truth for the sake of an adult's eyes.

Zoe Heran is perfectly cast as Laure, the ten year old girl who slips into the persona of Michael without a backward glance when she and her family move to a new neighbourhood. She is to be commended for her bravery in taking on this role, as it cannot be easy for a child to be told that they would do well playing the opposite sex. Casting Zoe Heran's real life friends in the film was a masterstroke, as their presence on screen gives the film a fly-on-the-wall feel that just helps to extend the naturally joyous feel of childhood to the viewer.

Inevitably, any serious film collector or fan thinking of buying this film may seek comparisons between Laure and characters such as Saga (Melinda Kinnaman) in 'My Life As A Dog. Don't. This film is very much in the neo-realist tradition of modern european cinema and, as such, the situation in which Laure finds herself is very naturalistic.

I should not have prevaricated over buying this film. Watch it, and enjoy your own childhood all over again!

If you enjoy this film, you might like Bruno ( The Dress Code ), Ma Vie En Rose [DVD] [1997], or The Giants [DVD].
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quiet, Heartfelt Tale, 27 Aug. 2012
By 
M. Jones - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Tomboy [DVD] (DVD)
This is a beautifully put together film. The acting is superb. Other reviewers have rightfully commended Zoé Héran for her portrayal of a child in conflict with her body and the expectations of society.

The film raises the usual questions about gender and sexuality, but this is achieved by allowing the audience to enter the child's world, so that we understand and share her pain. I think it is doing incredibly important work - work that a hundred theoretical texts cannot do. It should be shown to anyone unsympathetic towards the problems faced by transgendered/transexual people.

It is also a great film about childhood and evokes memories of long summers, rough play and tender friendships. I look forward to Céline Sciamma's future projects.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tomboy, 17 April 2012
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This review is from: Tomboy [DVD] (DVD)
Great film, lovely portrait of a family blending affection with the gift of independence to the children. As much about love and friendship as about gender issues. Beautifully acted particularly by the children.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb independent film, 17 Mar. 2012
By 
Jo Fox (South East England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tomboy [DVD] (DVD)
Tomboy is probably the best film about childhood I've ever seen. Céline Sciamma's direction makes all the difference. The film is fluid and seems to naturally follow the pace of childhood in the summer holidays. It's not a film full of fast action or hollywood twists and turns but instead captures the essence of what it feels like to be a child, facing all the difficults and questions that children face. The subject matter is dealt with in a sensitive and yet candid way. The acting performances of all the lead roles are truly excellent. It's so rare to see children acting so well. Above all it is an interesting, challenging story brought vividly to life and leaves me feeling the echos of long summers playing with my friends when I was young. I loved it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Slow Burner, 7 May 2014
This review is from: Tomboy (Blu-ray)
Tomboy is the story about a family who move to a new neighbourhood and when their ten year old daughter Laure is mistaken for a boy, she doesn’t rectify the mistake but instead calls herself Mikael as she tries to fit in with the other children, including Lisa her new best friend.

At times it does feel difficult to watch, waiting for the inevitable to happen and the lie to be exposed and when it does eventually happen it isn’t overly melodramatic or sentimental as it might be in a Hollywood movie; it is as if the director Celine Sciamma is able to strip everything down to its bare essentials.

The film is beautifully shot and it does invoke memories of a seemingly endless summer holiday and it is also a reminder of how tough it is to be a child. When it is revealed that Laure is a girl, and she has been taunted by the other children the camera pans slowly around the sunlit forest to return to the dress that she has been forced to wear carelessly slung over the branch of a tree as she walks off into the distance wearing her usual outfit of shorts and vest.

The acting is consistently excellent throughout, and the depiction of the relationship between the family members is also intimately and concisely drawn, and in particular the push and pull in the friendship between Laure and her younger sister is both touching and amusing.

Tomboy is a real slow burner, and is so measured as to be almost perfect, although not quite; as there is an almost inevitable and incongruous dancing scene which occurs about halfway through the movie. I’m also unsure as to how close to reality this might be and fear that the parents and their children might be less laidback and more brutal under the force of pressure that there is on people for their children to conform to gender stereotypes. This is an excellent companion piece to watch with the 1997 movie Ma Vie en Rose, although the former is a colourful visual fantasy and Tomboy feels much more grounded, but as a testament to nonconformity it is a brilliant film indeed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Growing Pains, 2 Dec. 2012
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This review is from: Tomboy [DVD] (DVD)
This is a beautifully directed modern classic in the best traditions of postwar French cinema, which explores the Angsts of a pre-teen girl right on the edge of maturity. All the young actors used, mostly drawn from ordinary backgrounds rather than acting school, bring a natural talent that gives the film its honest real-life feel. The tensions and confusions of combative ten to twelve year olds are exquisitely well-caught, and the sensitive central performances - from Zoé Héran as the boy who isn't a boy and Jeanne Disson as the aspiring girlfriend who is arguably the more masculine of the two - are out of this world, although the show is almost stolen by the diminutive little sister (Malonn Lévana) who gets let into the secret. Five stars and more.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Charming, 20 Sept. 2012
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This review is from: Tomboy [DVD] (DVD)
Having read other reviews of this film I decided to take a look - and wasn't disappointed. It is indeed a charming film and I'm glad I bought it. It's a slow, easy-going, make-you-smile sort of film and the main character is brilliantly played by Zoe Heran. Lovely - and highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Un Garcon Manque, 3 Dec. 2014
By 
Nicholas Casley (Plymouth, Devon, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tomboy [DVD] (DVD)
It’s the summer holidays. The family have just moved house to some nameless suburb. Ten-year-old Laure is seeking new friends. Her sister, six-year-old Jeanne, is not so bothered, being more enraptured by her own internal life as a real princess and ballet dancer.

Watching this 2011 film, written and directed by Celine Sciamma, one cannot help be reminded of the work of the Dardenne brothers. It’s a similar everyday scene with ‘real’ performances and a story that has profound implications for the lives of real people rather than for society at large. Like the Dardennes, there is no soundtrack.

Jeanne likes her long hair and colours her toenails with felt-tip pens; but the older Laure likes driving the car with her Dad and sipping Dad’s beer. She does not like the pinkness of her key-chain. Her bedroom walls are blue; she practices in front of a mirror the act of spitting like a boy. Like the other boys, she takes off her vest when playing soccer – and she plays well too.

Under a pseudonym of Mikhael, Laure is accepted as a boy without question by her new playmates, both male and female, but when the boys take a pee, Laure has to go into the bushes. The deception continues whilst her parents are wholly ignorant of what is going on.

But the summer must come to an end and school beckons; and school will mean real names, and real names mean real genders. What will happen? How will this play out? We expect tragedy as the denouement, but it will be intensely personal, poignant, an act of humiliation that we all go through, must go through, as we grow up.

Once hooked by the innocent deception – no wickedness is implied by it: Laure simply feels more comfortable as Mikhael – ‘Tomboy’ becomes a mesmerising film, as one wonders how this innocent dishonesty will work itself out.

The extras on my copy include a twenty-minute behind-the-scenes featurette (in French), exploring the writing, the casting, and the filming of the movie. We learn that many of the kids in the film were the real-life friends of Zoe Heron, who played Laure. The director, Celine Sciamma, describes Laure as “un garcon manqué”. There is also a fifteen-minute interview in English with Celine in which she refers to a lot of her own memories being in the film.
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Tomboy [DVD]
Tomboy [DVD] by Céline Sciamma (DVD - 2012)
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