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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Reeling Review #4: See Boy Meets Girl at Chicago's LGBT Film Festival



I can understand why Reeling chose Boy Meets Girl as its Opening Night film - it's absolutely wonderful!

Director/writer Eric Schaeffer has been making movies since the 1993 indie hit, My Life's in Turnaround, which was followed by If Lucy Fell (1996) with Sarah Jessica Parker and Ben Stiller and the underrated Never Again (2001) with Jeffrey Tambor and Jill Clayburgh. And now with Boy Meets Girl, he has returned to a smaller cinematic canvas - but with a big heart.

The story centers around Ricky, a transgender girl, and her best friend Robby, who have grown up together in a small town in Kentucky. Then one day Ricky meets Francesca, a friendly young woman from a rich family, and the two of them quickly become involved, despite Francesca's engagement to David, a homophobic Marine. With the introduction of David, who wants his fiancée to stay away from the "tranny", I feared that the film might be headed down a predictable path. But, thankfully, Schaeffer's original screenplay provides us with some unexpected twists - and I always enjoy being surprised as a moviegoer.

Such an amazing script, of course, deserves a great cast, and I'm happy to report that it certainly has one. The handsome Michael Welch - who has previously appeared in the Twilight movie series - couldn't be better as Ricky, while Alexandra Turshen lights up the screen with sparkling warmth as Francesca. I also liked Joseph Ricci as Ricky's brother Sam and Michael Galante, who succeeds in making us understand David. And then there is Michelle Hendley, the trans actress who makes a memorable film debut as Ricky. She is funny, fabulous and fierce - and you cannot help but care deeply for the character as she continues on her emotional and physical journey. It's one of the best performances that I've seen this year.

So I'm glad I met Boy Meets Girl - it's definitely a film worth getting to know. And I must thank Mr. Schaeffer and his outstanding cast for introducing us.

Show time: 7:30 pm, Thursday, September 18, at the Music Box Theatre (3733 N. Southport). There will be a post-screening Q&A with Eric Schaeffer and Michelle Hendley.
Running time: 95 minutes

For a complete schedule of films at Reeling32: The Chicago LGBT International Film Festival (which runs September 18 - 25), go to www.reelingfilmfestival.org. You can purchase tickets online (click here) or in person at Chicago Filmmakers (5243 N. Clark) Monday - Friday (and Saturday, September 13) 10:30 am - 6 pm. You can also get the latest festival news by following Reeling on Twitter and Facebook. And click here to read all my Reeling reviews.

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