Edinburgh Cinema

Edinburgh’s cinemas have their own, different feel. When I visit them, I’ll be writing about both the film and the place, giving you the organic experience. Film critics on the big scale can’t really cater for this, so I hope my reviews bring something extra in this respect.

Lady Bird


Lady Bird

It covers the ground many trans women can't talk about, myself included, and I was reluctant to watch this film, and confront a past narrative that I'll sadly never share. Lady Bird is a coming-of-age movie in which Saoirse Ronan's Christine – aka self-styled Lady Bird – experiences the travails of her senior high school year, with boys and best friends, and most of all her parents. Her gentle father is unemployed and sinking into depression; her mother is highly strung and hyper critical, and unable to cut her slack. The real tragedy, in fact, is the mother's. By the end, it's clear it's the mother who suffers from her own damaging inability to accept her daughter's character, while Christine herself is going to be okay. It's Christine who's strong, has initiative, and of course it will help that she's played as a good-looking, charismatic figure. While we're shown repeatedly that Christine struggles academically, her savvy intelligence is never in question. Is this even a flaw of the film? Are high school students this emotionally strong and consistent, and mothers in contrast so fragile? In this story it's the daughter who ultimately has the emotional maturity to mend relationships, including the one with her uptight mother.

Like Three Billboards in Ebbing, Missouri, this movie directed by Greta Gerwig is difficult to critique without giving much away, and also because there's little to critique - beyond the dismayingly uneven qualities assigned between daughter and mother. Well-crafted and nicely paced, for example, moments of gentle comedy punctuate the film throughout, not least between the teachers at the Catholic school where Christine studies. One particular scene involving a guest speaker warning against the evils of abortion produces arguably the biggest, shocking laugh. It's an indication of how Gerwig has successfully melded complex themes of sex and identity into this tricky backdrop of adolescence.

But given that all the critics are praising this film anyway, what of my trans-female reaction?

It's true that the dynamics of mother-daughter are under the spotlight, and the cis-gendered female friend I watched this film with told me that much of this film resonates for her. As an adolescent boy – in the closet about being trans – my own dynamics with my mother were different and continue to be now; the competitiveness and pessimism of the mother for her daughter in Lady Bird isn't something I'm familiar with. My relationship with my father, now more than ever, is more complex in the expectations involved, and as for my siblings . . . but let's not go there. Regardless, the past is the past, and adolescence is no golden age to pine for unless your adult life is so seriously shit. What Lady Bird reminds me is how adolescence is about survival and the obsessive illusion of sex-as-Holy-Grail, but unlike my friend, my heart went out to the tortured mother played by Laurie Metcalf. As wrong as some of her reactions are, the tenderness of her vulnerability is what stayed with me long after the film had finished, and it's for that reason – the complex, intense, sometimes lonely fucked-upness of being a mother - that you'll connect with this film and empathize with it, regardless of whether you're cis-gendered or trans.
The Square
Black Panther


No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Monday, 08 March 2021

Captcha Image

What's On This Week

My Latest Posts

December 22, 2020

Lacanian Icarus: when Gina flew too close to the sun?

On the recent experience of nearly being no-platformed There are two identities in one when it comes to being part of a disempowered minority. The first is for yourself: all your failings, your insecurities, your doubts, and connected to this, your curiosity and quirks. Let's be Lacanian analysts for a moment: what we're talking about is the transg...
November 17, 2020

If I were to detransition, this is what I would write

Warning: this is a speculative piece of writing, not an official announcement, although I have recently begun to imagine an 'ideological' detransition (from trans woman to GNC male). Here, I'm trying to articulate and reflect on my thoughts and feelings, and imagining myself from a different perspective. In this post, I'm Gina v...
November 17, 2020

Trans Hell-thcare

The picture accompanying this post is important to me. I took it yesterday, 16 November 2020, unsure what I'd find. It's been nearly eleven months since I came off oestrogen for reasons I'll get into in a moment. Undoubtedly this has had an effect on me, bodily and therefore psychologically, but the accompanying selfie gives me a reassura...
October 17, 2020

What if gender-critical feminism came to power?

This scenario is inspired by a dialogue I had yesterday evening with a gender-critical feminist just before I went to bed. Here is what I dreamed: In the summer of 2021, the Conservative minister Liz Truss introduces legislation, making women-only spaces legally accessible only to those born female. This U.K. law includes a provision for funding al...
October 13, 2020

Responses to my blog post (1)

A frustrating aspect of my website is that when people write in, there's no trace of an email address so no way of getting back to people, and also no way of publishing their messages. However, I received such a nice response to my article just now that I'd like to include it here. It's from some who for the sake of confidentiality (in case it's ne...
October 11, 2020

On adopting a more gender-critical transgender activism

On adopting a more gender-critical transgender activism Note to the reader: This post is intended as a contribution to addressing the current tensions between transgender activism and gender-critical feminism. The way I see myself in relation to female i dentity, and the ideas I express here, are not a prescription for other trans women. The t...
May 11, 2020

The Book of Queer Prophets, curated by Ruth Hunt

in Books

  The Book of Queer Prophets: 24 Writers on Sexuality and Religion The historically fraught relationship between Abrahamic religions and LGBT+ identities provides the backdrop to The Book of Queer Prophets , a collection of twenty-four meditations by public figures who identify as both religious and LGBT+. The book's curator, the for...
May 09, 2020

Queer/Transgender short film: Mesmeralda

Joshua Matteo's short film, Mesmeralda , merging horror with esoterica, is now out on youtube . As with his previous work Metanoia , we see youthful trans actors racing through the empty streets of a moonlit New York, haunted by symbols and stalked by a masked figure of violent intentions. Mesmeralda , as described by Matteo, is the companion ...
March 08, 2020

Sterile like the moon: the joys of transgender healthcare

Sterile like the moon: the joys of transgender healthcare Summer, 2016: Gina's Big Bang, as transitioning begins A bureaucratic question in a sun-lit room. My medical practitioner asks me if I intend to have children. The question lingers, but the self-loathing is instant. No, I won't be having children. The practitioner nods. She moves on to the n...