This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Evelyn’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
If I'll be somebody I'll never let my skin decide it for me
I never had the world so why change for it?
Giving into the love...
If you haven't ever experienced gender or body dysphoria I expect a huge portion of the film will be extremely unparseable, but I do think this movie utilizes its profoundly singular concept as something more than provocation. Yes, this movie frames its tense and often senselessly violent opening act through the tenets of New French Extremity as a way to establish a traumatic foreground for the, entirely more important, second stretch. It's a world filled with misogyny, confusion, and bodily decay - a realm of tough love where its inhabitants must find confort in each other when they longer can in themselves. Nearly every person in this movie is failed by their body: her nipple piercing gets snagged, his ass is bruised from steroid abuse, her heart gives out, he accidentally sets himself on fire, they have a titanium plate in their skull. I use 'they', because the movie refuses to provide a solid identity for our protagonist; are they Alexia or Adrien? Their naked body gets displayed far beyond the point of eroticism that it hardly even matters, their androgyny regularly takes the forefront in spite of the important pregnancy. All that does matter is the pain they feel in trying to find any way to make somebody proud. In fact, this movie's queer reading is so inexorably tied to the film's narrative and thesis, it simply exists as queer. The story about a man who gives birth to a beautiful and strange child, and the man who wanted more than anything to father it. Flesh is a gift and a curse.
I feel this movie in my bones. I understand the pain of discarding an entire life of memories for a body that ultimately does not work in service of you, and having to deal with everyone else's judgement of it.