Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Just Charlie

Just Charlie is a film that premiered on Sky Cinema yesterday. 

#JustCharlie  @JustCharlieFilm    www.facebook.com/justcharliethemovie

“A teen football star who is being courted by a top club is torn between wanting to live up to his father's expectations or shedding his ill-fitting skin”
"A heartwarming story of a fun-loving teenager Charlie, who unveils a secret that takes him on a road paved with obstacles, prejudices and confusion"

We found out about this film from the Trans Radio UK interview that Lucy did with Kellie Maloney last week. We did some research about the film, watched the trailer and eagerly awaited the premiere day, 16th April 2018.

We didn’t get to watch it until last night, it premiered at 9.40am so recorded it as we were both working, and had seen that already a few people that had watched it were giving it great reviews. So we settled down to watch it together last night.

Virtually from the beginning I was in tears. Watching Charlie struggle with her identity, the hidden secrets, the discovery, the football coach trying to find the right words to show his support of what he had accidentally discovered, the best friend rejecting her, the fathers brutal denial of what was clearly obvious, the mother supporting Charlie whilst trying to address her husbands issues and the unquestionable, unwavering support from her sister Eve.

At the beginning I made a few comments to Lucy as I could see so many parallels to what she has told me and the psychologists about her younger life especially as football had featured so strongly for her too but I felt she didn’t want to engage with me. Too much was too close to home, except I don’t think she would have received any support at all.

We watched the rest of the film in silence, holding hands, squeezing in uncomfortable but realistic moments and mostly I had quiet tears streaming down my face. Crying for Charlie, crying for Lucy and crying for everyone in our life who would connect with this, crying for the people I don’t know and angry at the transphobic and ignorant characters that I know exist in real life. It is one thing having the person you love tell you about these things but totally different seeing it being acted out in front of you and to think Lucy had experienced this on her own before we met just breaks my heart.

The film really covers the struggle for transgendered youth and their families but also shows what society is like. Even though it is more empathetic nowadays there is still a very long way to go but it was great to see Mermaids being featured when the mum, the friend, the sister, the father were researching to find out more information. 

Having had 5 children of my own, I can only hope that I would have been a supportive parent should any of them been transgendered. I cannot say for certain as I have not had to face this challenge but feel in my heart of hearts I would have been. Maybe because I did have a transgendered friend in my teenage years when it was mostly hidden away and not as open as it is now so it wouldn’t have been something new for me. There is a Nescafé Gold coffee advert that says that we meet roughly 80,000 people in our lifetime. I use this figure when talking to people about how low the incidence of being transgender is and ask them how many transgender people they have knowingly met. Apart from community friends, most other people say Lucy is the first for them which just proves my point. By comparison in my non-community life, Lucy was the 3rd transgendered person I had knowingly known along with lots of other eclectic and colourful friends. I wonder if my easy acceptance of Lucy’s situation is down to this plus I think my parents were very open minded about life as I was growing up bringing up myself and my siblings in a non-prejudice environment. I can only hope that I would have been a supportive trans parent and will certainly be a supportive grandparent if the situation were to arise.

Anyway I seemed to have digressed…….

After the film had finished we were discussing whether it was harder coming out as transgender as a child/youth or as an adult. I’m not sure we came up with an answer as both have their different challenges but certainly the sooner you can transition before puberty the better chance you have as being accepted as an adult as the ravages of either hormone has not had a chance to make its mark.

All in all it was a great film, it wasn’t sensationalist and dealt with the Charlie character in an empathetic way showing the internal struggles that are real for everyone no matter what age you are.

When Lucy interviewed the director Rebekah Fortune for Trans Radio UK she said that selecting the right actor to play Charlie was key. It wasn’t about having a cis or a trans actor for the role but was about finding the right child. Sadly many trans children wouldn’t have been able to do it as they would have been too vulnerable which I am sure we all understand.

Looking at their Facebook and Twitter feeds today the response has been amazing:

Just finished watching Just Charlie!! BEAUTIFUL film!! You must all be so incredibly proud of the film you have created!! If you haven't seen it then… WATCH IT!! It's honestly incredible!!

Just Charlie’ is the most eye opening film I’ve probably ever watched

Wow this is such a powerful film. Spencer Coile said "With an influx of trans representation in television and film, Just Charlie is a touching reminder that these stories need to be told. And perhaps it is our job to listen."

Just watched Just Charlie & have to say it is a great film would highly recommend you check it out taking a current topic & engaging you into the topic & the ending was superbly done

@justcharliefilm it’s incredible! @BeCoMeCast The casting is unbelievably perfect, Rebekah Fortunes directing is incredible and works in beautiful harmony with Karl Clarke’s stunning cinematography! Harry Gilbert is breathtaking as Charlie. I need to lay down!

Just Charlie: a phenomenal lgbt film about a closet trans teen, this depicts how hard it is as a trans person, please watch it

Sobbed all the way through #justcharlie set in #Tamworth and #Lichfield #netherstowe

At last a decent film on @sky - #JustCharlie. Highly recommend watching.

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