(By SFist MiHi Ahn)
We're suckers for coming-of-age movies, so we hunkered down with a cup of coffee and bag of popcorn last night at the Castro Theatre to see back to back Frameline Festival movies about young adults. The first movie, XXY by first time director Lucia Puenzo is a quietly riveting film about an intersex teenager going through puberty in a small seaside town in Uruguay. Fifteen-year-old Alex has lived life as a girl, but... well, let's not mince words, she also has a penis. All of our dorky concerns and ridiculous melodrama of our adolescence seems trivial in comparison to the anguish Alex must face.
Alex's protective parents moved to a small town after her birth to keep her away from the wagging tongues of big city snoops, but with puberty also comes choices. Throw in the arrival of a visiting plastic surgeon, the doc's family, and a tension-alced attraction between the plastic surgeon's son and Alex, and you have the makings for high drama at a critical juncture in Alex's life. The most remarkable thing about this film was that, ultimately, we felt Alex would be just fine. It was the plastic surgeon's son we were worried about. Alex may have been born intersex but her protective and loving father always saw her as "perfect" from the moment she was born. In contrast, the son of the plastic surgeon has to deal with a father who's kind of a jerk. In the end, the film asks you who is more blessed: the normal, so to speak, boy who lives with the disapproving and disappointed father, or the teen who is blessed with unconditional love and the knowledge that her family is always on her side? Us, we'll take the boobie/penis package and the nice dad any day.