The T portion of LGBTQ is woefully underrepresented in their cinematic depictions. Now and then, we’ll get a film like Boys Don’t Cry or Tangerine, but the story of the transition has been woefully absent from most of these tales. To document the process of transitioning, 52 Tuesdays has an incredible hook. Filmed over the course of one year, 52 Tuesdays is a scripted drama of a mother transitioning to a male, while his teenage daughter is transitioning from adolescence to adulthood.
Teenager Billie is happily living with her divorced mother Jane when Jane announces his plan to transition to James, and asks Billie to move in with her father while James is going through the process. After all, dealing with a teenager is tough enough. Adding a gender transition on top of that would be impossible. Over the course of the year production process, Billie ages noticeably by the year, as James’ external changes to match his internal.
Neither Billie nor James are given free passes through the difficult period. Billie acts out against both of her parents, struggling with her hormonal urges and discovery of romance and maturity. James, who has been sacrificing his identity for years, finally demands the space to become who he wants to be, but that means acting with self-serving agency that rocks the boat. It’s easy to pass judgment on what is and is not acceptable behavior when you’re not intimately involved, but 52 Tuesdays is such an intimate movie that those judgments are rendered pointless.
Though it has a killer hook of following a transitioning character over the course of a year, the actor playing James had already transitioned prior to the creation of the movie. In the early scenes, Jane already looks quite male, making the transition far less potent than it actually can be. That nitpick is minor in a moving coming of age film where a teenager has to accept her parents as the human adults they are, and not as the god-like parental figures she viewed them as.
52 Tuesdays streams on Netflix