Tomboy (2011 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Céline Sciamma|
|Produced by||Bénédicte Couvreur|
|Screenplay by||Céline Sciamma|
|Music by||Para One|
|Edited by||Julien Lacheray|
Hold Up Films
arte France Cinéma
|Distributed by||Pyramide Distribution|
|Box office||$4.3 million|
Tomboy is a 2011 French drama film written and directed by Céline Sciamma. The story follows a 10-year-old transgender child (given the name Laure by his parents) who, after moving with his family to a new neighborhood introduces himself to his new friends as Mikäel. The film opened to positive reviews, with critics praising the directing and the performers, particularly Zoé Héran as the lead.
Laure is a 10-year-old child whose family moves to a new address in Paris. One day Laure sees a group of boys playing outside the window and goes to play with them, but they disappear quickly. Instead, Laure meets Lisa, a neighborhood girl, and Laure introduces himself as Mikäel. Lisa then introduces Mikäel to the rest of the neighborhood children stating that "he" is the new kid in the apartment complex. A bath scene in the film reveals that Mikäel has a vagina, and a following scene confirms that Mikäel was assigned female at birth as his mother addresses him and his sister as "girls." Mikäel becomes friends with Lisa and the boys and tries to hide his genitalia to appear like a boy (make it seem that he has a penis). At one point this leads Mikäel to pee his pants, which originally makes him embarrassed, but is soon forgotten. As they all play, Lisa and Mikäel develop crushes on each other and after swimming one day, Lisa kisses him. At this point, Mikäel also seems to be accepted into the group of boys.
One day, when Lisa comes by the apartment to look for Mikäel she runs into Mikäel's sister, Jeanne instead, thereby revealing to Jeanne how Mikäel is presenting himself to his friends as a boy. At first Jeanne is upset, but when Mikäel promises to take her with him on all his outings for the rest of the summer she quickly becomes happy to have a big brother which she says is "way better" than having a big sister. She also helps Mikäel cut his hair and keeps his secret from their parents. Although his mom is supportive of Mikäel for being tomboy (for example, by painting his room blue), she also seems to want him to display more culturally-defined "female" behaviors (for example, being thrilled when one day, while playing, Lisa puts makeup on Mikäel's face).
Then, after a fight with one of the boys, the boy and his mother come to Mikäel's door to get him in trouble. Mikäel's mother pretends to know that Mikäel is her "son", but afterwards she gets angry with him for telling everyone that he was a boy. After this incident, Mikäel's mother forces him to wear a dress and makes him go over to the apartment of the boy he hit. Jeanne is visibly upset by this and tries to help Mikäel. Mikäel's mother is also clearly upset and sad about the situation. She confesses to Mikäel that she is forcing him to reveal that he was born a girl to protect him. Mikäel's mom also makes him go to Lisa's apartment. When Lisa sees Mikäel in his dress, she runs off without a word.
After running into the woods Mikäel overhears the boys talking about him, and when they see him running they chase him and surround him saying they're going to see if he's really a girl, Lisa stands up to them and tells them to leave him alone. Once she is called disgusting for kissing a girl, however, Lisa reluctantly "checks" and confirms Mikäel's genitalia, leaving Mikäel distraught.
Later, we see Mikäel in his house with his mom and sister, not wanting to go outside. But, when he sees Lisa standing outside his window he goes out. This final scene suggests hope for at least a friendship between him and Lisa.
- Zoé Héran as Laure/Mickäel
- Malonn Lévana as Jeanne, Mickaël's sister
- Sophie Cattani as The mother
- Mathieu Demy as The father
- Jeanne Disson as Lisa
The film explores a theme of ambiguous gender. Writer/director Céline Sciamma said, "The movie is ambiguous about Mikael's feelings for Lisa. It plays with the confusion. I wanted it to be that way."
Tomboy earned very positive reviews. Earning 97% certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes with a consensus saying, "In tune with the emotion and tribulations of childhood, Tomboy is a charming movie that treats its main subject with warmth and heart." Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave 3.5 out of 4 stars, commenting that Tomboy is "tender and affectionate".
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- Jury Award at the 2011 Teddy Awards, given for the best film with LGBT themes at the Berlin film festival.
- Golden Duke, the main prize of the official competition of the 2011 Odessa International Film Festival.
- Audience Award at the 2011 San Francisco Frameline Gay & Lesbian Film Festival.
- Best Feature Film at the 2011 Philadelphia QFest Lesbian and Gay Film Festival.
- Competition at the 2011 Torino Lesbian and Gay Film Festival.
- Nominated for the GLAAD Media Award as Outstanding Film — Limited Release.
- Héran won the Jury Award for Best Performance at the 2011 NewFest Film Festival.
- Héran was nominated for the Young Artist Award as Best Leading Young Performer in an International Feature Film.
- Prix Jacques Prévert du Scénario for Best Original Screenplay in 2012
- "TOMBOY (U)". British Board of Film Classification. 8 August 2011. Retrieved 24 November 2012.
- Smith, Ian Hayden (2012). International Film Guide 2012. p. 120. ISBN 978-1908215017.
- Dargis, Manohla (15 November 2011). "Movie Review — Tomboy". New York Times.
- Trish Bendix (16 November 2011). "Céline Sciamma talks "Tomboy," "Water Lilies" and why LGBT film festivals are still necessary". AFTERELTON.COM. Archived from the original on 16 January 2013. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
- "LA Film Fest: Film Guide 2011" (PDF). Los Angeles Times. 12 June 2011.
- Céline Sciamma talks "Tomboy," "Water Lilies" and why LGBT film festivals are still necessary at AfterEllen
- "33rd Annual Young Artist Awards". YoungArtistAwards.org. Retrieved 31 March 2012.