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52 Tuesdays

Sophie Hyde

As the title suggests, this debut drama was shot over 52 consecutive weeks, chronicling a mother’s female-to-male gender transition and the impact it has on her family and friends. Using a cinema verité style and non-professional actors, debut filmmaker Sophie Hyde has achieved something quite remarkable and very touching.

When Jane (who becomes James, played by Del Herbert-Jane) announces to her daughter Billie (Tilda Cobham-Hervey) that she is going ahead with the transitioning process, Billie decides to start a video diary to record her feelings. Moving to live with her father and seeing her mother, whom she is very close to, only once a week, Billie finds the separation, as much as her mother’s decision, difficult to cope with. The process is a challenge for James as well, as he struggles with the physical and mental challenges involved with transitioning from being Jane.

Given only the bare bones of the plot and a script one week at a time, the film has an improvised feel which adds to the immediacy of the story. Drawing on her own personal family experience, the focus of the film rests squarely on young Billie, who is desperate to find a way to cope with the huge change in her life, as well as everything else that is thrown at your average teenager.