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Ma Vie En Rose (1997)

Cast: Michèle Laroque, Michèle Laroque, Jean-Philippe Ecoffey, more...
Director: Alain Berliner, Alain Berliner
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Columbia TriStar
Genre: Foreign, France, Gay & Lesbian, UK, Features
Running Time: 88 min.
Languages: French
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
    see additional details...

Boys will be boys and girls will be girls, but one child isn't so sure in this Belgian comedy drama. 7-year-old Ludovic (Georges DuFresne) is happy, healthy, and good-natured, but there's a bit of a problem -- he has decided that he's a girl. While his parents Hanna (Michele Laroque) and Pierre (Jean-Philippe Ecoffey) try to understand, Ludovic stubbornly refuses to listen to reason from his parents, teachers, or schoolmates. His fondness for wearing girl's clothes and frequent pronouncements to strangers that he's going to be a woman when he grows up become increasingly worrying, and things come to a head when Ludovic declares that when he's older, he plans to marry Jerome (Julien Riviere), the boy next door. It hardly helps that Pierre's boss, Albert (Daniel Hanssens), is also Jerome's father, and that he's notoriously closed-minded about gender issues. Will Pierre keep his job? Will the stress spoil Pierre and Hanna's marriage? And will Ludovic find the right shade of lipstick? Ma Vie En Rose was the first feature for director and screenwriter Alain Berliner. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Beautiful and enchanting! by EPetersen November 2, 2004 - 4:37 PM PST
4 out of 4 members found this review helpful
Warning: Possible spoilers below!

Ma Vie En Rose (My Life In Pink) is a beautiful and enchanting French comedy-drama about intolerance, acceptance, and the wonderous and often confusing part of life called childhood. The setting is a modern, picture-perfect Parisian suburb that resembles a 1950s American small town - in more ways than one.

Seven-year-old Ludovic Fabre (Georges DuFresne) is a happy, sweet-natured, well-adjusted young boy - who likes to wear dresses and play with dolls. This is not really a problem for his parents and siblings, but when Ludovic shows up at his parents' party wearing his sister's tutu and makeup, the neighbors are shocked. Ludovic's embarassed parents dismiss his behavior as a practical joke.

This get worse when Ludovic strikes up a friendship with Jerome (Julien Riviere), the son of his father's boss (and next-door-neighbor) Albert (Daniel Hanssens). Ludovic falls in love with Jerome and tells him that he will become a woman when he grows up, and then they'll get married. This doesn't shock Jerome at all - in a very cute and sweet scene, he and Ludovic have a pretend wedding. When Jerome's mother walks in on them, she promptly faints at the sight of her son pretending to marry another boy - who is wearing a dress.

Albert and his wife are ignorant, bigoted conservative Christians and forbid Jerome to see Ludovic. Jerome tells Ludovic that he's afraid God will send him to hell for playing with him. Heartbroken, Ludovic tries to figure out why everyone seems to hate him so much.

Ludovic's older sister Zoe (Cristina Barget) shows him her school biology textbook and tries to explain the genetic differences between males and females. Using logic only a seven-year-old's mind could conceive, Ludovic concludes that God played a joke on him; he's a girl, but God slipped him a Y chromosome to be funny, instead of another X. So he was born with the wrong body.

Ludovic sees his situation as merely an inconvenience, because he believes that someday, he will become a woman. His strong belief in the fact that he's a girl in a boy's body causes an outpouring of unreasonable hatred and prejudice against him and his family. His frustrated parents Hanna (Michele Laroque) and Pierre (Jean-Philippe Ecoffey) take him to a psychiatrist.

The psychiatrist is not quite sure what to make of Ludovic. She advises his parents to let him wear girls' clothes if it makes him happy and see if he grows out of it. Pierre is furious. When Pierre loses his job and the family is finally driven out of the neighborhood by their hateful neighbors, they move to another town.

Hanna gives Ludovic a really short haircut and forces him to dress and act like a boy. He's miserable in his new surroundings, until he is befriended by Christine, a little girl his age who looks, dresses, and acts like... a boy! This sets in motion the harrowing and emotional climax, where Ludovic's family finally learns to accept him for who he is.

Is Ludovic really a transgendered person, or is he just suffering from sexual identity confusion? Is he going through a phase that he'll grow out of? Will he grow up to be a gay man? None of these questions are answered, but it doesn't matter. This is a movie about the evil of intolerance and how it affects an innocent child who has done no wrong. It is not a movie about transgenderism or homosexuality.

The point is this: who is really sick and abnormal - Ludovic or the bigots who persecute him? You must see this wonderful movie, if only for the amazing performance of little Georges DuFresne in the lead role! His acting is excellent, and for most of the movie, it's hard to tell if he's a girl or a boy. This is one of my all time favorite movies, and I bet it will be one of yours, too. :o)

- Eric Petersen

Excellant by NNascenzi April 25, 2004 - 10:00 PM PDT
0 out of 4 members found this review helpful
A wonderful journey is this child's life.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.79)
239 Votes
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