The Girl Who Disguises Herself as a Boy: Celine Sciamma’s ‘Tomboy’ Review

It’s been a while since I last enjoyed a kid-centered film, let alone one that delves into an adult-centric topic with aplomb.

Celine Sciamma’s “Tomboy” follows a 10-year-old girl who disguises herself as a boy when she moves into a new neighborhood.

Over the course of 87 minutes, the film offers an honest and precocious exploration of gender-bending identities. This in large part is due to the sincere performance of lead actress Zoe Heran as the girl who poses as a boy.

As an audience, part of the thrill of watching this film is knowing that the main character is a girl – a fact that other characters do not know about.

Tomboy 3

Not only does this result in suspenseful moments when the girl is almost caught out of her disguise, but also light-hearted moments when the girl learns how to come across more as a boy (such as learning to spit and shaping a penis out of playdough).

The humor also comes in the form of the girl’s younger sister, who goes along with the lie and tells even more lies to their friends and even her parents.

All in all, this is a coming-of-age film that even adults would enjoy and relate to.


Published by

Olivia Griselda

A photographer & filmmaker based in Singapore.

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