Given its coming-of-age story and ambitious production schedule, Sophie Hyde’s 52 Tuesdays invites comparisons to Richard Linklater’s Boyhood. Hyde, who shot the film every Tuesday for 52 consecutive weeks, traces the mental and physical evolutions of both James (Del Herbert-Jane), a mother transitioning into a man, and his daughter, Billie (Tilda Cobham-Hervey), a precocious teen who’s coming to terms with her burgeoning sexuality. Hyde may fearlessly foreground intimate moments from James and Billie’s lives, but she barely elaborates on the toll James’s transition takes on him and only superficially as it affects Billie’s psyche. The filmmaker’s mistake is to focus primarily on the details of James’s physical transformation: the surgeries, the testosterone shots, his increasingly bulky physique, and so on. But outside of a brief, almost documentary-like sojourn to San Francisco, wherein the liberation James feels as he adapts to his shifting social life is passingly regarded, Hyde evinces scant interest in the character’s emotional inner life. This lack of complexity is partly due to how Hyde opts to portray James through Billie’s point of view, which is curious since Billie isn’t the only one paving a path toward independence. In video diaries that Billie makes throughout the film, she confesses her opinions about James’s transition; as such, James is constantly being defined in relation to his daughter. And while these diary entries may suggest a looming, potentially cathartic, emotional confrontation between James and Billie, in the end the device is used solely to showcase Billie’s maturity over the course of a year. 52 Tuesdays’ ambitious production effectively allows the characters’ change over time to shape an elliptical narrative, but in highlighting only the superficial aspects of James and Billie’s evolution, Hyde allows her film to succumb to gimmickry.
- Kino Lorber
- 109 min
- Sophie Hyde
- Matthew Cormack
- Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Del Herbert-Jane, Mario Späte, Beau Travis Williams, Imogen Archer, Sam Althuizen
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