Patrice Toye grabs the question of paedophilia with both hands and tackles it head on, ready and willing to blow the viewer’s previously held beliefs right out of the water. Not once does the film shock by what it shows; it’s the viewer’s imagination that does all the work here.
The camera alternates between distancing itself from the character, revealing Jonathan’s struggle, and adopting a more subjective viewpoint, which creates a real sense of intimacy and helps the viewer to feel empathy for a character who is far from being portrayed as a monster. Instead, he’s painted as an anti-hero hunted down by his demons.
A brilliant, intense and daring actor was required to play the part of Jonathan: Timjen Govaerts, discovered in Girl. Govaerts offers up an impassive Jonathan, leaving the audience to guess at the fire consuming him from within.
Tench paints a striking, uncompromising, but, above all, unbiased portrait of a young man in pain and plagued by his demons, placing the viewer in the shoes of a paedophile without the slightest hint of sensationalism.
Aurore Engelen, Cineuropa