February 4th, 2022
MOVIE: LITTLE GIRL- MUSIC BOX FILMS BLU-RAY REVIEW
DIRECTED BY: SEBASTIEN LIFSHITZ
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 3 ½ STARS (Out of 4)
Director Sebastien Lifshitz has made a film that should be required viewing. I would say that’s a ringing endorsement but his film will receive a fair share of detractors and critics of its very existence. Little Girl is a documentary about a seven year old girl named Sasha. When you look at Sasha and you see her, you will understand that her life is on the cusp of change, a transgender girl, who’s parents are aware of her wants, needs, and willing to let her be comfortable in her own skin. From a documentary standpoint, there’s not much deeper details, or a study into the transgender community, but an observational approach. Little Girl is a perfect example of movies being what Roger Ebert describes as “the empathy machine”. This is a movie that strikes you right at the center of your heart and truly asks the audience to walk in the shoes of this Little Girl.
The opening shot of Little Girl captures Sasha running, jumping, playing, doing the things that any child would be doing. It is in those moments where I could not help but say in my head, none of this should matter, and a child should be allowed to be free. Not just free to be who they want to be, but free from judgment, and free from the pain that will follow in her life. Hand and hand with Sasha is her mother Karine, who does the majority of the talking to the camera, allowing Lifshitz the chance to catch a glance of her emotional state through this human experience. It’s a documentary of a family, willing to be there for their child, no matter what they wear or feel, but as long as they are happy, a lesson that everyone needs to hear.
Throughout the documentary, we are beside the heartbreaking experiences for Sasha, how her principle is unaccepting of her, her ballet teacher not allowing her the chance to be taught, and the pain of her parents to witness such cruel treatment. Lifshitz captures multiple moments of conversation between Karine, Sasha, her father (who is not absent, but less of the focus than mom), and her new psychologist. They express the details of gender dysphoria, allow Sasha the freedom to express herself freely, but are also aware of how terrifying the entire situation makes her. At every turn you will want to hug Sasha and hug her parents, not because there is anything wrong, but because we know how cruel the world is. And yet there is hope surrounding it all because we see a family united no matter what.
I viewed it from the standpoint of asking myself how I would react if it were my own child. I honestly could not say, not because I wouldn’t be accepting, but because I empathized in every way with Karine’s fears. A majority of the moments of bigotry are off-screen, talked about in meetings, and discussed after the fact to Sasha. Hearing these stories is worse than seeing them, which is credit to Lifshitz and his cinematographer, because they never shy from capturing Sasha’s face. The tears, the heartbreak, the love she has for family, and the joy she has when her classmates accept her for what she feels. Her life, her experiences are those of her own, something that no principle or teacher could take away.
This brings me back to the beginning, where Little Girl should, no, must be required viewing, especially for parents. I say challenge yourself, push back against the fears, the misconceptions you have about anyone in the transgender community and watch Little Girl. This is a documentary that has a genuine empathy for the subject at hand. We all begin in a place where the love and acceptance from our parents matters most. When I watched Little Girl all I could think about was how I knew Sasha was going to be okay and I hope I can give that same love to my own child.
LITTLE GIRL IS NOW AVAILABLE ON DVD AND BLU-RAY FROM MUSIC BOX FILMS.
3 ½ STARS
Written by: Leo Brady