This is a beautiful movie.
Set somewhere in the Deep South of America, we meet Rikki, a transgender girl who laments that her small home town contains no boys she could fall in love with, so jokingly says she’ll try to find a girl instead. She almost immediately bumps into beautiful stranger Francesca, and the two hit it off as friends.
While Francesca is initially very naive about Rikki’s transgender issues, she doesn’t let that get in the way of their friendship. Slowly their relationship deepens and both girls begin to explore different aspects of their own sexuality, despite Francesca’s fiancée, a US Marine currently away on a tour of duty, expressing his disgust at everything Rikki represents.
The spectre of the marine boyfriend coming home after his tour of duty ends hangs over the plot; the viewer knows it’s coming and the tension mounts as the two girls unwittingly grow closer before the inevitable denouement at Francesca’s father’s political fundraiser.
Boy Meets Girl is a very honest film, but quite flirty and fun with dialogue that stays just the right side of sassy and cheesy, while exploring real emotional and sexual issues in a way that’s not at all as heavy as a documentary. It’s not all light and fluffy, but it’s certainly well-paced and extremely well acted.
There’s a darker thread throughout the movie with flashbacks to a recording a younger, teenage Rikki made explaining her mother’s death and Rikki’s thoughts of suicide as a teen dealing with such huge emotional issues. The viewer may get the feeling that this movie is aimed at young adults, but it in no way suffers for this. There are some sweet messages that aren’t hammered home, but are definitely noticeable. Messages about the concept of love transcending any definitions of gender and social construct are delivered gently and with a delicate touch that, however obvious that may seem to older viewers, are certainly messages we’d all be glad to see out there a little more.
Personally I think it should be shown in schools – it’s a wonderful, moving story with some great acting. Michelle Hendley, who plays Rikki, is a transgender actress herself, which helps give the movie a level of authenticity and truth that might otherwise have been lost by casting a masculine-looking girl or a feminine boy. However it’s obvious throughout that none of the cast were chosen just for their physical attributes: the emotional range of each of the film’s four main characters is impressively broad and skilfully managed, ranging from fun, light banter to deeper, more intimate moments without jarring or feeling anything but natural..
Overall Verdict: The Iris jury were right to award Boy Meets Girl the Best Feature award at Iris 2014; this is a beautiful, moving and very honest film that opens up a lot of avenues for discussion and introspection that everyone should see. It should be shown in schools.
Reviewer: Scott Elliott