At the end of Lukas Dhont’s controversial Girl, I felt very mixed about whether or not the movie did the transgender cause good or ill.
Lara is a 15 year old girl with aspirations of being a ballerina. Which in itself is a tough challenge in itself but additionally, Lara is living in a male body and in the midst of preparing for gender re-assignment surgery.
This burden lays heavily on Lara (played brilliantly by Victor Polster – a 14 year old cisgender boy ) and the the film chronicles her slow descent into depression.
The symbolism of self-reflection (the mirror) is utilised extensively in Girl, as Lara undergoes self-loathing as she laments her unwanted male body and as she studies her dance moves in practice.
And while director Dhont does well to build up sympathy for Lara’s plight, the ending fails to do justice at all to the narrative constructed prior to the shocking denouement.
Which is a shame because it seemed like Dhont could not decide how to end the film and went for shock value. Which is not flawed in itself and yet the resolution seems trite as if to suggest that all Lara had to do to solve her problems was to take things into her own hands! Literally.
Like I said, mixed feelings but still recommended viewing nonetheless.
… still there’s more …