The Transgender Drama ‘Girl’ is Earning Awards Season Buzz – Here’s Why It’s Infuriating Trans Critics
Posted on Friday, December 7th, 2018 by Danielle Solzman
When Girl, a film about a transgender woman who aspires to be a ballerina, premiered this past May at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, it did so to a great deal of debate in the transgender community. For starters, the film was from a cisgender filmmaker who chose to cast another cisgender male actor in the role of a transgender female. Shortly after the film premiered, Netflix acquired the film, which is directed by Belgian filmmaker Lukas Dhont. And then the film started receiving a wave of festival awards, starting with the Camera d’Or for best first film and the Queer Palm (awarded to one LGBTQ film). Actor Victor Polster, the cisgender man playing a transgender character, took home the Best Actor Prize for Un Certain Regard.
As the film began its festival run, critics wrote positive reviews. Some would tackle the cisgender casting while others completely ignored it. But most notably, these reviews were being written by cisgender film critics. A cisgender film critic isn’t going to view the film like a transgender critic, one who can truly grapple with the choices being made here. In a perfect world, my being a transgender woman would not be the thing that defines me. But this world isn’t perfect and because I’m transgender, people turn to film critics such as me to hear what I have to say about movies like this.
And I have a lot to say about Girl, which is a dangerous movie.