26 September 2018 | roblesar99
An Emotionally Devastating Coming-of-Age Tale
Emotionally devastating yet reassuringly empathetic, director Lukas Dhont's GIRL tells the story of transgender ballerina Lara as she seeks to complete her transition while struggling to achieve her dreams. Make no mistake, this is a tough film to watch (as exemplified by the cringing noises and gasps from the elderly women sitting in the row behind me), but it's also a rewarding one. Victor Polster delivers some of the best work of the year in his portrayal of the protagonist, and while some will rightly be bothered by the fact that Polster is a cisgender male actor who cannot ever known firsthand the difficulties that someone like Lara would have gone through her entire life, he nonetheless delivers an arresting, sensitive performance that adroitly examines these devastating struggles. And while the film does focus a fair amount on the struggles that Lara faces through her transition, it also highlights her resilience and courage, which define her more than anything else. I also have to point out that it's been a landmark year for movie dads, with Arieh Worthalter fitting right in with Michael Stuhlbarg's dad from CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, Josh Hamilton's dad from EIGHTH GRADE, and Tracy Letts' dad from LADY BIRD. Worthalter shines as a devoting father who desires nothing more than his daughter's happiness.
If there's one thing I disliked about GIRL, however, it's the slow pacing, which I really started to feel during the last fifteen minutes of the film or so. It's only 105 minutes long but each and every minute is certainly felt. I also wasn't the biggest fan of Dhont cutting the music off during certain scenes (let the scene play out, Dhont!). Despite my complaints and the fact that I might not have loved GIRL, I still certainly believe it's worth watching.