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TIFF Next Wave: 52 Tuesdays

A heavy, emotional drama about the bonds of family in trying times, 52 Tuesdays is centered around the life of Billie (Tilda Cobham-Hervey), an Australian teenager dealing with her mother’s sudden decision to go through gender reassignment surgery. The impact of this situation leads Billie to pursue her own sexual awakening, in turn making for a heartfelt, nuanced look on the nature of personal and prescribed identities.

In the process of transitioning from a career in documentary filmmaking, director Sophie Hyde’s first narrative feature takes an unconventional approach to capturing events, by charting the developments which occur on each Tuesday throughout the course of a year. This time-lapse style format, while adhering to the screenplay co-written by Hyde and Matthew Cormack, instills a dose of naturalism to the proceedings, and makes its sequences all the more engaging.

Splintering the focus between Billie and her mother James (Del Herbert-Jane) allows for room to cover transgender issues and burgeoning, coming-of-age sexuality from a point of distance, even when these components do not congeal by the end. Despite this, the underlying themes of acceptance and persevering against odds as an outsider, are universal enough to find resonance amongst audiences. What starts out as a story about the dissonance between a parent and their child, evolves into a deeply-felt story on the hardships one must face to achieve their desired sense of self.

52 Tuesdays is an effective, considerate film, that is sure to strike a chord with audiences across all types of boundaries.

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