Boy Meets Girl
Dir: Eric Schaeffer
Cert: 18 • USA: 95 min • Independent • 2014
Andrew Darley reviews
Romantic comedies have historically reigned and succeeded in selling film-goers, largely unrealistic, notions of love and partners – with a few giggles along the way. A formula can be seen from some of the best of the genre; a love interest, an obstacle in obtaining that love, stunning looking actors and, of course, a happy ending. Regardless of their predictable nature, people go to them in their droves and always come out shining in the box offices.
Eric Schaeffer is no stranger to the “rom-com” genre. He is known for his work in directing, writing and acting in If Lucy Fell and television series I Can’t Believe I’m Still Single. In his newest film, Boy Meets Girl, he has created a script based on the romantic comedy formula but given it a sex positive perspective. Set in the small-town hub of Kentucky, it follows two very attractive twenty-somethings, Robby and his best friend Ricky, as they ponder over their single relationship statuses and the ins-and-outs of their sex lives. Amongst the back-and-forth between the two, we learn that Ricky is a transgender girl. She describes the impossibility of finding a boyfriend in their town and jests about trying women for a change – in walks Francesca. The wholesome all-America beauty strikes up a conversation and friendship with Ricky. The playful banter between the two quickly develops into feelings for each other, which would be fine if not for the fact that Francesca is soon to be married to her Marine fiancé who is away on duty.
The film’s tongue-in-cheek tone tickles as we see the spark between the two develop and its few unexpected twists. Like many good rom-coms, Boy Meets Girl is a pleasant and easy watch and would be the perfect accompaniment to chilling out on Sunday afternoon. Yet, it may not be an easy view for all. The film manages to capture the spectrum of sexualities and identities in an authentic way. Ricky, Robby and Francesca are very fluid in their sexual and gender identities and the way they express them. For viewers belonging or familiar with queer culture, some of the issues this film touches on may be not ground-breaking, but for others unfamiliar, they could be enlightening. It also poses a few questions about the labels we give ourselves and often leaving the viewer and characters alike, a little confused – if a transgender girl who has always been attracted to men is falling in love with a girl – does that make her a lesbian?
Also, as Ricky’s relationship with Francesca starts to grow, we see the venomous prejudice she must face from after being wardened off by her family and her spiteful fiancé. Interestingly, her backstory is threaded to together in segments of a video she recorded of herself as a teenager. She holds up pieces of paper as she reveals her self-hatred and insecurity of being trans. However, it’s inspiring to see the difference in how she lives her life in the present day as an adult, acknowledging the turmoil she went through to get there. She takes on every challenge with a cocksureness and dignity.
Boy Meets Girl has all the key rom-com ingredients; it’s a little kitsch and familiar, yet made with heart and touches on important ideas in queer culture. Schaeffer closes out the film with a sense of achievement with the chimes of Tori Amos’ ‘Cornflake Girl’ – whom like the character of the song, Ricky is an empowering woman who refuses to be tamed by those around her.