Eric Schaeffer’s “Boy Meets Girl” is a classic romantic comedy with a twist. The film is relatable, heart-warming, and illuminates several issues present in the LGBT community. Although the movie has pushed the envelope of a traditional on screen romance, there are still intersections of race being left out.
Ricky (Michelle Hendly) is a beautiful transgender girl looking for love; along with her best friend Robby (Michael Welch). Ricky becomes entranced by the idea of falling for a woman when she meets Francesca (Alexandra Turshen), a young, gorgeous privileged girl who is engaged to a marine. Francesca does not want to be filled with regret as she commits to a life as a stay at home mom and so she takes a chance with Ricky just in time for her marine to come home full of hate. The women must decide who they want in their future; while the men must come to terms with their true feelings.
Making sure that gender binaries are distinct is very important for the majority of society. Ricky struggled with the idea that she was never fully accepted as ‘anything,’ no matter how confident she was with herself. When Ricky and Francesca were going to have sex, Francesca made the comments that she was ‘soft like a girl…and hard like a boy.’ Ricky seemed to struggle with the fact that she maintained both characteristics and that she floated somewhere in the middle of this binary; never fully being accepted to one gender or the other. When Robby points out to Ricky that everyone feels alienated and alone, she retaliates with, “Yes, but unlike me, you have an us to figure it out with.” Feeling alienated is fed by images of emphasized femininity that are impossible to obtain because even the women in the images do not look that way. There are also social constructions which set standards for what masculinity should look like; strong, virtuous, smart, and handsome.
An interesting aspect of this film are the intersections portrayed in it and how Ricky takes notice to that. Everyone in the movie is white except the minor role of the marine, who is Latin. Ricky is hesitant to become friends with Francesca because she is a rich, Christian, Republican. Robby reminds her of how judgemental other people are to her, which then allows Ricky to see the possibility of Francesca being a non-judgmental person. I commend the film for showing these judgments because it flips the scenario and poses Ricky as the skeptic and Francesca as the open one. Although the film does a lot to move forward from a traditional rom-com, the representation of racial groups is lacking; which is far too common. The movie takes place in the southern United States where the LGBT community and African Americans have received an overwhelming amount of hostility. Therefore, these marginalized groups should be working together and this could have been a great project of solidarity if marginalized ethnic groups were involved in this film.
There is a scene where Robby and Ricky are driving in a truck and talking about what constitutes the labels around homosexual sex versus heterosexual sex. The conversation starts because Francesca previously asked if having sex with Ricky made her gay. This is a very important issue for the movie to cover because I think a lot of people struggle with the idea of needing to put a label on things. According to Robby, what makes a person gay or straight is the way they have sex and the body parts involved. However, Ricky points out that by his definition Francesca and her would be heterosexual and have had ‘straight sex.’ It is a controversial topic which was explored very openly in this movie. The characters were able to have conversations about it in a safe space, which is the most important thing. Overall, labelling sex and relationships as heterosexual or homosexual is a very socially constructed concept, and is one that is not important. The important thing is that everyone has the opportunity to have consensual, healthy, and accepting relationships regardless of sex, gender, race, religion, class, and other intersections.
Attending the Reelout festival was an enriching experience. “Boy Meets Girl” played at the screening room on 120 Princess Street. I had never seen or heard of the theatre before, so I am glad that I got the opportunity to discover it. Since I bought my ticket online I got to skip the line, so I had plenty of time to take in the characteristics of the theatre. The lobby was charming, with curtains closing off the theatre, a record player with probably a hundred records beside it, and lots of classic movie posters that have been popular in the LGBT community. I thought that the festival would attract a wide range of people from the community, however, I do not believe this was the case. I think I counted about five people who appeared to attend the film not as a part of the Gender Studies class (this is just based on appearance). Perhaps other films from the festival drew more community appeal, and although the turnout was a full theatre, I was a bit disappointed that the majority of it was students who had to be there for credit.