The journey of a suicidal transgender teen in small-town Sweden swerves between striking and meandering in this impressive drama. What’s most consistent is the compelling lead performance from newcomer Saga Becker, who stars as Sebastian/Ellie, a waif whose need for sex and love leads to a dysfunctional affair. The object of her desire is a boy whose confused sexuality threatens to destroy the budding relationship.
The film’s bittersweet take on young love is familiar, but the gender-related difficulties add something fresher, and Becker has an undeniable screen presence. Director Ester Martin Bergsmark’s slight film works best as a character study focused almost exclusively on the lead. There’s a grubby ugliness – from transphobic violence to an obsession with urine – and a garish style that leaves an impression, although too much repetition holds it back.
You can watch the whole film on Vimeo–if you speak either Swedish or Spanish. I’ll try to find an English version and link it here when I do.