Tomboy (2011)

A film by Céline Sciamma 

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A lot of films explore gender and gender identity, but not a lot of films explore gender identity with someone young. Tomboy, a film directed by the amazing Celine Sciamma, is a film that follows a 10-year old who starts to explore her gender identity after being mistaken for a boy upon moving into a new apartment building. Starting from when Lisa mistakes her for being a boy, Laure creates almost this other personality out of Mikäel, the name she calls her “boy” half. For quite a bit of the beginning, Laure’s name is not said and one could have assumed that Laure was actually Mikäel or a male if her mom had not called her name about 1/3 way through the movie. Throughout the movie, the audience watches Laure as she observes male, and male behaviour. As she watches the guys play soccer, she observes them as they spit on the ground, run around freely without their shirts, and so forth. When we next see Laure playing soccer with them, she freely takes off her shirt and spits on the ground, like one of the boys, seemingly fitting in with them without question.

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Throughout the entirety of the movie I personally saw Laure as more androgynous presenting, as she did not appear like your stereotypical female. She wore her hair short and when she was forced to wear a dress at the end of the film, it seemed out of place for her character, who had been seen wearing shorts and a t-shirt. However, the truth about Laure’s gender identity is never truly answered. We see her seemingly very happy as Mikäel, but it is never said whether she was just putting on an act, so to say, or whether Mikäel was who she truly was – and I think that was the point. The truth about Laure’s gender identity was never said because gender is fluid and Laure, who was 10, was probably just as unsure of it as we were. Gender is not black and white, there are grey areas in between and this film forces the audience to think about those areas.

 

-Jasmine Graham

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