Big Screen Review :: 52 Tuesdays

May 5th 2014


52 Tuesdays is built around the pretty neat idea of filming one day a week over the course of a year. It’s literally 52 Tuesdays.

This means that it is one of the greatest studies of the growth and evolution of men’s beards ever committed to film.

The film follows 16 year old Billie during the year that her mother transitions from female to male. Meanwhile, she start some sexual experimentation with a couple that has the potential to turn dangerous.

First things first: this is a pretty good film anchored by an excellent performance by Tilda Cobham-Hervey as Billie. Her story goes to some pretty unexpected places and she has some tough scenes. At times, credibility gets strained (particularly in the third act), but her performance can usually redeem it. This won’t be the last you will see of her.


The film is mostly cast with non-professional actors, including Del Herbert-Jane as Billie’s mother, who now goes by the name of James. In real life Herbert-Jane Does not identify as a particular gender, but gives a fascinating and great performance that can only come from experience. Shout out as well to professional skateboarder Beau Travis-Williams as Billie’s dad – he’s warm, funny and an excellent presence. Also, there are far too many people with three names in this movie in my opinion.

The most refreshing thing about this film is that stuff happens in it.


That sounds stupid, but I have seen so many Australian films that look and feel like this one – all dark digital photography and ambient music – where there is no drama. No incident. The whole thing can consist of bland characters building toward some tame argument or fake epiphany. Or worse still, it just ends suddenly and you wonder what the hell was the point.

That is not this film. A lot happens over these 52 Tuesdays. Not all of it is earned or credible, but it’s always interesting. And while it’s great to see a movie about transgender issues, it doesn’t get bogged down in the mechanics of James’s transition. It’s just as much about Billie’s coming of age as it is about James.

THE BOTTOM LINE: This is a real and promising debut film from Sophie Hyde. It’s warm, brave and ambitious. Not all of it works but thats alright – it’s still well worth a look.


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