Boy Meets Girl

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Sunday September 28, 2014

Boy Meets Girl

In writer-director Eric Schaeffer's sweet, funny "Boy Meets Girl," there's plenty of hormonal confusion for three 20-year-olds living in rural Kentucky. Ricky (Michelle Hendley) is a transgender women looking for love; her best friend, Robby (Michael Welch), hangs works for her father at a garage and hangs out with Ricky at the coffee shop where she's employed as a barista. When Francesca (Alexandra Turshen) cruises into the coffee shop one day -- just as Ricky is lamenting to Robby that she might have better luck with girls than she's had with of guys -- she and Ricky hit it off at once.

The fact that Ricky is transgender doesn't faze Francesca -- much -- but the response of her fiancť, David (Michael Galante), stationed in with the Marines overseas, takes her aback. Though Ricky doesn't remember David from high school, David remembers her: "I'm not fighting for the America that fucking thing is part of," David snarls, upon hearing who Francesca's new friend is.

The production values are hardly stellar -- this is a low-budget film after all -- and the editing is clunky, but the sound design is (mostly) crisp and audible, and there are some well chosen songs to round the film out. Most important, the writing and acting are genuine, sassy, smart, and affecting. When aspiring fashion designer Ricky utters lines like, "I was born in the wrong body and the wrong town," Hendley makes it work. (At another juncture, during a fancy party at Francesca's wealthy family's mansion, Ricky chats with two middle-aged women about the horrors of high school: "I was fat," one recalls; "I had terrible acne!" the other exclaims. "I was a boy in high school," Ricky puts in. "So, that sucked.")

Schaeffer isn't making light, but he does make his way through some tough, even bewildering topics, such as gay sex, straight sex, transgender sex, prejudice, and anti-trans hatred with a light and sure-handed touch. The film feels limber, but Schaeffer stays on track with what the film's promotional material calls its "sex positive" message: "I'm curious," Francesca says, after she and Ricky experience an intimate encounter. "Does this make me gay?... Well, it's gotta make me something." Ricky, as adept at offering reassurance as she is at shooting down bigots, doesn't miss a beat: "It makes you human," she says.

Films like this one remind you just what that means.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.