Tomboy (2011 film)

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Theatrical release poster
Directed byCéline Sciamma
Produced byBénédicte Couvreur
Screenplay byCéline Sciamma
StarringZoé Héran
Malonn Lévana
Sophie Cattani
Mathieu Demy
Jeanne Disson
Music byPara One
CinematographyCrystel Fournier
Edited byJulien Lacheray
Hold Up Films
arte France Cinéma
Distributed byPyramide Distribution
Release date
  • 20 April 2011 (2011-04-20)
Running time
82 minutes[1]
Budget$1 million[2]
Box office$4.3 million[3]

Tomboy is a 2011 French drama film written and directed by Céline Sciamma.[4] The story follows a 10-year-old tomboy, Laure, who moves during the summer holiday with her family to a new neighborhood. At that time of life, when everything is still open, she experiments with her gender identity.[5] The film opened to positive reviews, with critics praising the directing and the performers, particularly Zoé Héran as the lead.[6][7][8]

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."[9]

Tomboy was released on DVD-Video and Blu-ray in the United Kingdom on 5 March 2012,[10] and in the United States on 5 June 2012.[11]


Laure is a 10-year-old girl 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. Lisa assumes that Laure is a boy and asks for her name.[12] After a moment's thought Laure introduces herself as Mikäel. Lisa then introduces Laure as Mikäel to the rest of the neighborhood children stating that "he" is the new kid in the apartment complex. Laure becomes friends with Lisa and the boys, showing some soccer skills and managing to keep up the appearance even when they go swimming, by putting a clay penis in the swimming trunks she cut from a one-piece.

Over time, Lisa and Laure develop crushes on each other and one day, Lisa kisses her. At this point, Laure also seems to be accepted into the group of boys. One day while playing, Lisa makes up Laure's face and comments: "You look good as a girl." Laure goes home hiding her face under her hoodie, but her mother says she likes it, encouraging Laure to be more like a girl.

One day, when Lisa comes by the apartment to look for Mikäel, she runs into Laure's precocious six-year-old sister Jeanne instead, who understands that Laure is pretending to be a boy. Jeanne confronts Laure and wants to tell their parents, but when Laure promises to take her with her on all her 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 Laure cut her hair boy-style and keeps her secret. Although her mom is supportive of Laure being tomboy (for example, by painting her room blue), she also seems to want her to display more culturally-defined "female" behavior.

Then, after a fight with one of the boys, the boy and his mother come to Laure's door to tell her mother about her son's bad behavior. Laure's mother is quick to understand and plays along, but after the visitors have left, she scolds Laure for pretending to be a boy. Jeanne clearly understands Laure's predicament and does her best to support her emotionally. As punishment and to finish a lie that couldn't last anyway, Laure's mother makes her wear a dress and takes her to the apartment of the boy she hit and also to Lisa's apartment. Lisa is stunned to see Laure in a dress and runs off without a word.

Deeply embarrassed, Laure goes to the woods. After a time there, she takes off the blue dress, leaving her in a tank top and boy-style shorts. Walking away from the discarded dress, Laure sees the other children in the distance. She can hear them talking about her, speculating if she is a girl or not. When they spot her, the boys chase and capture her and say they're going to see if she's really a girl. Lisa stands up to them and tells them to leave her alone. But when they tell Lisa: "You kissed him. If it's a girl, that's disgusting, isn't it?" Lisa has to agree and reluctantly looks in Laure's shorts, with Laure in tears but letting her. Lisa is shocked. The boys and Lisa leave while Laure remains in the woods, devastated.

Later, we see Laure in her house with her mom, younger sister and new-born baby brother, not wanting to go outside. But when she sees Lisa waiting outside her window, she goes out to see her. After a long silence, Lisa quietly asks her for her name. She says her name is Laure and finally seems to get over her embarrassment. This final scene suggests hope for at least a friendship between her and Lisa.



Tomboy earned 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."[13] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave 3.5 out of 4 stars, commenting that Tomboy is "tender and affectionate".[14] IndieWire called it the third best Lesbian movie of all time.[15] Autostraddle called it "excellent."[16]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "TOMBOY (U)". British Board of Film Classification. 8 August 2011. Retrieved 24 November 2012.
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Smith, Ian Hayden (2012). International Film Guide 2012. p. 120. ISBN 978-1908215017.
  5. ^ "What's Real and What's Not, Interview with Director Céline Sciamma". Popmatters. 15 November 2011.
  6. ^ Dargis, Manohla (15 November 2011). "Movie Review — Tomboy". New York Times.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ "LA Film Fest: Film Guide 2011" (PDF). Los Angeles Times. 12 June 2011.
  9. ^ Céline Sciamma talks "Tomboy," "Water Lilies" and why LGBT film festivals are still necessary at AfterEllen
  10. ^éline-Sciamma/dp/B005JZ90M0/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1348691918&sr=8-2
  11. ^
  12. ^ Lisa uses the French pronoun that suggests she expects to hear a male name.
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ Dry, Jude. "The 15 Best Lesbian Movies of All Time, Ranked | IndieWire | Page 3". Retrieved 2017-07-04.
  16. ^ "Now, An Updated Edition Of The 102 Best Lesbian Movies Of All Time". Autostraddle. 2017-02-14. Retrieved 2017-07-04.
  17. ^ Warbler, Daniel (2 June 2014). "THE OUT TAKE: 10 FANTASTIC TEDDY AWARD-WINNING LGBT FILMS TO WATCH RIGHT NOW". Retrieved 9 September 2018.
  18. ^ "33rd Annual Young Artist Awards". Retrieved 31 March 2012.

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