Ma Vie en rose


          MA VIE EN ROSE has lessons to teach. A brilliant first film from
  Belgian director Alain Berliner, it resists being summed up in pithy
  fashion. The hook is that the central character is a pre-teen boy who
  believes he is a girl trapped in a male body. This is a film that only
  a European director could make as American film studios never
  would allow a director the freedom to explore a child's sexuality in
  the intense yet comical way Berliner does.

          Ludovic matter-of-factly deals with his feelings, cross-dressing,
  claiming to want to marry a schoolmate when they grow up. (Jerome,
  the object of his affection who does not seem to object to the plan,
  is the only son of his father's boss causes complications for the family.)
  Berliner examines the effect of the boy's openness on his own family
  (his doting mother gradually turns on her son) and the community at
  large. While it can be argued that many of the supporting roles border
  on bigoted stereotypes, that is partly the point as the filmmakers want
  us to question our own reactions to the subject matter.

          Berliner has created a lovely, visually interesting film. He allows
  the audience to enter into Ludovic's fantasy world--a pretty, pink-filled
  one inspired by children's television show built around a Barbie-like
  figure. What anchors the film is the extraordinary performance from
  Georges du Fresne. This son of actors possesses angular, androgynous
  features and a superb, almost preternatural sense of emotional timing.
  (Berliner has attributed the young thespian's success in the role to his
  having a twin sister.) He delivers a charming and direct portrayal to which
  all the other characters must react.



                          
Rating:                A-
© 2005 by C. E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.