Bucking conventional filmmaking techniques, in much the same way Richard Linklater did with “Boyhood,” “52 Tuesdays” tries to capture the cinéma vérité of a family in transition. Jane tells her daughter, Billie, that she identifies as a male and is going to transition. As she becomes Jason, she needs her space to figure things out, so is sent to live with her father for a year. However, they do agree to see each other every Tuesday for a year.
The focus of the story becomes less about Jane’s transition to Jason, and more about Billie’s transitional journey through adolescence. Billie(Tilda Cobham-Hervey) is the last to be told by her mother, Jane(Del Herbert-Jane) that she is starting her FtM transition to Jason. Billie comments to her uncle Harry(Mario Späte) about being the last to know. Secrecy is an element effectively used to reveal deeper and hidden truths. Jason keeps from Billie, his seeing his transgender co-worker, Lisa(Danica Moors). Meanwhile, Billie keeps secret her rendezvous with friends Josh(Sam Althuizen) and Jasmine(Imogen Archer), from her parents.
“52 Tuesdays” misses out on the emotional calamity of a family torn asunder by a parent transitioning to the opposite gender. The inciting incident is Jane telling her daughter, Billie, she has to live with her father, Tom(Beau Travis Williams), for a year while she figures herself out. This device removes the emotional conflict from the movie. The scenes with Jason and Billie actually stall the movie, with extraneous ‘on the nose’ dialog and expositional dialog.
“What is an authentic life?”
Billie ambulates through her life, barely letting people see more than what is on the surface. The rebellious 16-year old starts a video diary. Breaking the fourth wall, creates an intimacy with the audience that exceeds the confines of the film itself. She asks, “What is an authentic life?” Immediately, the remainder of the film sets out to answer that question. Every character has their own sense of what authenticity means to them.
Each Tuesday is prefaced with an actual event that happened on that particular day, much to the detriment of the drama. The staccato narrative also suffers from a lack of pace, detracting from the emotional impact of the gestalt. The juxtaposition of actual events occurring each Tuesday, with the transition of Jane to Jason, and the rebellious adolescence of Billie and her friends, stagnates the fluidity of the journey. This effort dilutes the impact of those individual elements.
As a film about gender transition, it falls short. Blurring the lines of gender fluidity, the gender transition story arc slides into the background, as the questions of adolescent gender exploration come forward. Questions of gender do revolve around what it means to live ‘authentic,’ being open with who you are, and who you are with.
Director Sophie Hyde filmed only on Tuesdays for a year, to capture the mise en scene of place and time. She and Matthew Cormack drew on elements from their lives for this movie. Del Herbert-Jane identifies as gender non-conforming and is wonderfully cast as Jane/Jason. As also is Danica Moors, as Lisa, Jason’s transgender romantic interest.
mir, irini, peace, amn,