After drinking from a mysterious (and apparently magical) plant, three bullied adolescent girls are transformed into boys.
First let me address my-and possibly your-initial concern. Writer-director Alexandra-Therese Keining thankfully has no interest in broad comedy and doesn’t waste even a moment of precious screen time with it. No dick jokes or double entendres here. Keining is much more interested in exploring the fluidity of sex and gender roles.
Girls Lost is as its best when it concentrates directly on gender. At first, Kim (Tuva Jagell), Bella (Wilma Holmén), and Momo (Alexander Gustavsson) can’t believe how different their lives can be as boys. The boost their newfound identities bring to their confidence is unmistakable as they no longer feel constantly vulnerable to the taunts and physical abuse of their male classmates. In fact, they’re immediately invited to a friendly game of soccer with the other boys.
Of course, growing up is hard to do whether you’re male or female. Kim’s friends begin to grow tired of some of the peer pressures common among teenage boy, but not her. Kim has felt like she has been hiding her true self for quite a while now, and is more at home in her male body, than she ever was as a girl. Here’s where the trio of friends- and the narrative- run into some problems.
My issue is with Tony (Mandus Berg), the bad news kid that Kim starts hanging out with. When Kim starts ditching Momo and Bella to hang out with him, it causes friction in the group, especially since Tony’s bad influence starts getting her into trouble. While this dynamic is easy to relate to, it’s been explored in so many other movies that it becomes frustrating how much time Keining devotes to the Tony-Kim friendship. Especially given the unique opportunity this film had to delve further into the questions of gender and identity.
Although the last twenty minutes or so drag a little, ultimately, Girls Lost gets it right where it really counts. We can see early on that school really is hell for these three girls and our compassion for them make them easy to root for. The casting doesn’t hurt either. It’s worth watching just to see how seamless the transition is when three wonderful young male actors take over the roles from these three wonderful young female actors.
Sunday, June 5, 4:45 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox
Tickets can be purchased at the Inside Out website.