Another week, another Netflix gem and this time it’s a movie that’s been gathering dust on My List for some time.
This film tackles the subject of transgender, being trans in a small town, coming-of-age and good old-fashioned love; and… well, you can wait to the end to find out what I thought.
As always *Spoilers*
Boy Meets Girl (2014)
IMDB Synopsis: Boy Meets Girl is a funny, tender, sex positive romantic comedy that explores what it means to be a real man or woman, and how important it is to live a courageous life not letting fear stand in the way of going after your dreams.
I started off this film thinking “WTF”, perhaps because to the untrained eye it feels a little unrefined. The acting took a little bit of time to ‘settle’ and that’s probably because I’m a critical bitch.
The opening scene is a little precocious but then there was a flashback scene soon after involving a flasher and that made me laugh out loud for a solid minute. After that I was 100% in; and madly in love with the character of Ricky.
We begin in the world’s quietest coffee shop where our heroine Ricky is chatting to her BFF Robby. They’re talking about the opposite sex and Ricky is bemoaning her lack of luck with men. She then ponders whether she should try women for a change and – would you know it – right on cue in walks beautiful Francesca.
There’s an instant spark between Ricky and Francesca, with some healthy bants flowing between them. However, Fran seems a little less street smart, and maybe a little baffled at the easy way in which Ricky riffs off her. Fran’s engaged to a soldier serving time in Afghanistan and comes from a rich family, so maybe lives in a small town bubble, though she doesn’t know Ricky or Robby from their childhood days, so she might be fairly new in town (I don’t know).
Robby encourages Ricky to come clean about who she is to Francesca. Ricky texts her while they’re sitting beside one another at the lake and Francesca is curious more than anything if a little gobsmacked at how feminine Ricky is.
I think this character is quite a good tool to be honest. Through her you get answers to the questions you might have about Ricky. Sure, it doesn’t go into much detail but we learn where Ricky is in terms of her transition, her thoughts about her body as well as how she feels about her future. I think that’s great.
Anyway, as you’d expect, the girls become close. It turns out that Francesca’s fiancé knew Ricky back in school and is less than polite about her when they talk on Skype – the usual small town bullshit – yawn! This only pushes Fran closer to Ricky and one evening they sleep together. This is Ricky’s first time with a woman, but not Francesca’s, even though she’s pretending to everyone that she’s still a virgin. Conservative family, innit.
Prior to this ‘act’, Ricky pumps Robby for information on how women’s bodies work in the lead up to sex and he gets quite uncomfortable. But the scene is quite refreshingly direct and funny.
Ricky is a would-be fashion designer (and blogger) and throughout the film is awaiting news from a school in New York, where she plans to move as soon as. Fran is excited about Ricky’s skills and Ricky makes her a dress for a big garden party her parents are throwing at their enormous property.
When Ricky drops off the beautiful white dress she’s made for Ricky, Fran invites her and Robby to the event. They reluctantly accept. Ricky is a big hit with Francesca’s family but – what’s this? – Mr Duval (daddy) has pulled a few strings and gets Fran’s fiancé, David posted locally so they don’t have to be apart anymore.
(I’m sorry, what? Really? Of course this is supposed to illustrate just how much sway Fran’s father has as a politician but I’m p. sure he wouldn’t be able to faff around with military postings willy nilly)?
Anywho, David is back and Fran’s pleased to see him. Ricky and Robby peg it out of there but not before David slings some mud and refuses to refer to her as a ‘she’. Fran stands her ground and so, luckily, does daddy, who shouts that he’ll dropkick David in the fucking nuts if he dares to tell his daughter who to hang with (to paraphrase). Go, daddy!
Later on Mrs Duvall (mummy) comes to see Ricky at work (still quiet) and basically tells her that any fool can see that Ricky just ain’t that into Fran and if that’s the case then why not cut her loose so she can plan her wedding? At this point I’m a bit like – what she isn’t into Fran?! – then I remembered the synopsis which suggests a love triangle, so I got it again.
Mrs D’s parting shot is “Stop calling yourself transsexual because it ain’t ladylike – how about telling people you were born with a birth defect instead?” to which Ricky has a sassy retort that sends her packing. I’m not entirely sure how that sounds better, but never mind, eh?
Oh, one big thing I’ve failed to mention is that Ricky is haunted by the fact (she believes) her mother never really accepted her for who she is and as a result, left the family. Ricky’s father is bloody lovely and tells her all the time that this isn’t true but she can’t shake it. Her younger brother is an absolute don as well, and they’re obviously incredibly supportive and loving, and that’s enough to turn even the coldest heart to mush.
David confronts Ricky about Francesca and it turns out that they have far more history than we’d expected. David is all shades of messed up in his attitude but now at least we understand (but in no way condone) his dickish behaviour.
I’ll leave this here because it does have a nice conclusion and it’s a good film. You’ll maybe change your opinion on some of the characters by the end, maybe think about your own experiences within past relationships. It’s a romantic comedy and of course, I’ve mentioned a love triangle, can you see where this is going?
Before I give you my rating, how about a few questions?
Questions, questions, questions! Who, if not Francesca, is Ricky into? Does this person reciprocate? Will Ricky ever let the memory of her mother not accepting her go?
Will Ricky get into fashion school? Will David ever drop the fucking douche bag act? And perhaps most importantly, how come I don’t look as good as Ricky in braids?
This is a good movie. It’s sassy with a strong lead who isn’t afraid to curse and quip. Basically the best kind of main character. As mentioned above, it is a positive film without too much bad stuff.
I mean, Ricky lives with guilt, as she believes she pushed her mother away, so she has had her fair share of heartache. There is a touching scene in which an eight-year-old YouTube video featuring a young Ricky is posted publicly for all the world to see (a bit of a cheesy sequence, tbh- but I liked it). Though maybe I’m wrong, maybe burly bikers do watch teenagers’ vlogs on the side of the road with glee?
However, it seems Ricky was quite lucky throughout school. Not only to have had a supportive network but that she had the courage to face her tormentors head on. I know not all trans kids and adults are as lucky and for every positive story like this one, there is one with an unhappier ending.
But I liked it. Michelle Hendley is great, really luminous on-screen and really likeable. The ending is super sweet and super romantic, that’s all I’ll say!
My Rating: 4/5 – I liked it a lot. I’d definitely like to see Ricky again. Perhaps a sequel following her into her career in the fashion industry?