Set and filmed over a year’s worth of Tuesdays this remarkable directorial debut from Sophie Hyde follows young teen Billie (Tilda Cobham-Hervey) as her mother (Del Herbert-Jane) transitions into a man. While undergoing hormone treatment and adapting to life as a man James asks Billie to move in with her father but they agree to meet up for one day every week to ensure they stay in each others lives. Over the course of this year it is not just James that undergoes a dramatic change as while he tries to become the man he always wanted to be Billie explores her own sexuality and finds herself transitioning from a girl into a woman.
You’ll have to excuse me, I think I am about to gush.
52 Tuesdays is a special film. The performances are supremely and convincing and result in naturally flawed characters I really believed in. Despite the potential for the film to get preachy considering the subject matter there was more emphasis on authenticity than getting any particular message across. Potentially heavy issues were dealt with using a refreshing lightness of touch; not trivialised as much as they are humanised.
The film is as much an exploration of young female sexuality as it is about transitioning gender. It looks at the notion of identity, maturity, and love. There is even an exploration of the ideas Men, Women & Children was toying with but there is no sense that the audience is being bashed about the head with them. 52 Tuesdays is simply a well-considered and well made film which succeeds in normalising a niche experience.
What more do you want me to say?
Each Tuesday is introduced with a few seconds of news footage from the week it was filmed giving the film a real sense of time and place. The relationship between Billie and James is at once the strongest on-screen familial relationship I’ve seen in a long time and on the verge of breaking down at any moment. The progression of time leaves the two characters changed from the start of the film to its end and the question becomes whether the two individuals at the film’s close can have the same relationship they shared at its start.
52 Tuesdays is sweet, sexy, and painful. 52 Tuesdays wears its heart on its sleeve and while not perfect it is made with love, determination, and authenticity. 52 Tuesdays is a special film.
52 Tuesdays is in UK cinemas from today.