Girl

***SPOILERS BELOW*** -- I know there's a tab for that, but given I wanna caution against seeing this, it's maybe better to be spoiled
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"Do you want to cut your dick off?"

I don't remember when my dad asked me that, but I know for a fact he once did. For him, that's what me being trans most immediately meant. He didn't ask about the positive effects of transition on my mental health. He didn't understand that not all trans-people choose to go through surgery. He only cared about the gory, violent details. And what I learned pretty obviously from 'Girl' is that Lukas Dhont is unavoidably of the same mindset. If he weren't, he wouldn't have ended his film that way.

And in strict terms of craft command, Lukas Dhont isn't a bad filmmaker. For the first act, 'Girl' is surprisingly tolerable. Flat in narrative & misguided in Victor Polster's performance, but Dhont displays a supple observation & increasingly vigorous physicality in his direction. And that's part of what makes 'Girl' such a horrifying, traumatizing experience. Because it's a sophisticated telling of a misguided and deeply irresponsible message: That trans-people can't be trusted with their own identities.

FULL ESSAY AT FILM MISERY