Boy Meets Girl movie review: a slightly kinder world
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a smarter, warmer, more honest depiction of human sexuality than this roundrobin of emotion and attraction. I love this movie.
I’m “biast” (pro):
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
Ricky (Michelle Hendley) hates life in her small rural Kentucky town. She’s working in a cafe there only until she hears back from the New York design school she’s applied to; she dreams of having her own line of clothing and already has quite a following on her YouTube channel devoted to fashion. She and her purely platonic best friend Robby (Michael Welch: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1) pass their time hanging out and have teasing conversations about the differences between men and women when it comes to love and sex and relationships.
All totally normal for a couple of young 20somethings. Including the fact that Ricky is transgender. She is out to everyone and is accepted by the whole town… but that doesn’t mean life is a breeze. As Robby points out to her at a moment when she’s feeling particularly sorry for herself and being maybe just a little bit selfish: Everyone is fucked up and trying their best to muddle through. Robby may have yelled this, actually, because suddenly there’s an interloper in Ricky and Robby’s cozy friendship who is causing a bit of a rift between the longtime friends and confidantes. Debutante Francesca (Alexandra Turshen) has a Marine fiancé, David (Michael Galante), over in Afghanistan, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t unexpectedly intrigued by bold, brash, gorgeous Ricky. And Ricky’s confused because she’s always been into guys before now…
I love this movie so much. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a smarter, warmer, more honest depiction of human sexuality — gay or straight, cis or trans, and everywhere in between — than the roundrobin of emotion and attraction these four characters enact. Some people are entirely straight, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but this is a frank and funny movie about being fluid that is so compassionate and so accepting that it almost makes it seem as if the real world is the same. Ricky does have to cope with some crap from those who don’t know her; her tentativeness as she reveals her not-so-secret secret to Francesca is heartbreaking, as she prepares to shy away from rejection (which doesn’t come). And I don’t want to downplay how very moving Hendley’s performance is: she is transgender herself (writer-director Eric Schaeffer discovered her on YouTube via her videos detailing her trials as a trans woman), and there is a lovely, poignant walking-on-eggshells quality to her presence, as if her Ricky is just waiting for her carefully constructed persona of keeping-it-together to be pulled out from under her.
But that said: Boy Meets Girl is the closest approximation I’ve seen anywhere, onscreen or off, of a world that isn’t reflexively heteronormative. It’s a taste of a nicer, fairer world that doesn’t have to be a fantasy. Almost like Ricky herself, I kept flinching every time I thought I saw awful bigoted reality about to intrude… and it never really did. That’s such a wonderful thing.