52 Tuesdays

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52 Tuesdays

Billie (Tilda Cobham-Hervey) is 16. Her parents are separated, and while she gets along well with her dad (Beau Travis Williams), it’s her mum (Del Herbert-Jane) that she’s closest to. So when her mum announces that she’s going to transition to male and that with all the stresses and dramas that her journey will cause it’s better if Billie go live with her father for the foreseeable future, it’s a bit of a knock. It’s not a total separation, though: they agree that Billie will visit once a week, on Tuesdays – which is how the film itself was made, with director Sophie Hyde only filming the actors once a week and keeping the script loose so it could change with any changes the actors – who were non-professionals – went through. The end result holds together well: the ups and downs of Billie’s mother’s journey never feel forced, and while Herbert-Jane isn’t the most expressive performer, her low-key style suits her character’s largely internal struggle.
Cobham-Hervey grows up in front of the camera over the course of the year and it’s effective enough as drama that it makes her subplot (involving a combination art project and sexual exploration with a couple of school friends) seem a little heavy-handed. But both mother and daughter’s struggles to find who they really are work well in unison.
This is a rare and satisfying example of a high-concept Australian film that actually has something to say about how people really do live their lives.
Written by Anthony Morris