A 15-year-old transgender girl from Belgium starts training to become a ballerina in Girl, a film with a title that’s simultaneously straightforward and anything but. This intriguing debut feature from Flemish director Lukas Dhont […] looks terrific, is not afraid to tackle a number of difficult subjects and features a star-making performance from acting and dancing talent Victor Polster. […] [Dhont’s] heart – and that of the audience – goes out to Lara, whom Polster plays in such piercingly relatable terms, trying to navigate her own journey.
One thing that perhaps a part of the transgender community will look at more closely is Dhont’s decision to cast a cisgender boy in the role, though it might be next to impossible to find a transgender actor to play a pre-op girl who is the right age and who can also act and is a trained ballet dancer. Another issue is the film’s approach to nudity, which is very frank and which could be perceived as reducing the transgender experience to a question of genitals […]. That said, for this critic, it felt like a logical choice since the movie’s subject is so clearly about the inner psychological struggles of Lara’s bodily disconnect as well as the constant and very painful external physical struggles of becoming a highly trained dancer at such a young age.
Boyd van Hoeij, The Hollywood Reporter