Human societies all over the world believe in gender identities and expect an individual to behave in accordance to the rules of gender, laid by the society. When a person defies these rules, the society reacts negatively and compels the person to alter his/her behavior. The conflicts that arise between the society and the person struggling with his/her sexual identity are depicted in the movie Ma Vie En Rose (My Life in Pink), directed by Alain Berliner. The protagonist of the movie is a seven year old boy, Ludovic who believes that he is a girl and behaves like one.
The family members of Ludovic and the neighbors are the secondary characters in the movie. The theme of the movie states that defying one’s sexual identity and behaving like the opposite sex is not an anomalous behavior, the society should realize this and accept the person as he/she is. The movie presents a touching portrayal of the dilemmas faced by Ludovic and his family members, owing to the manner in which Ludovic exhibits his sexual identify. But the film lacks in one aspect, for it fails to provide any insights regarding Ludovic’s future in a society bound by its rules.
Strengths The movie focuses on the innocent world of a boy who believes that he is destined to be a woman when he grows up. Ludovic dresses and acts like a girl, and this behavior of Ludovic astounds his family members and the neighbors. Ludovic is advised by his family members to give up his unusual thoughts and act like a boy but Ludovic refuses to listen to them. Being a seven year old boy, he fails to understand the consequences of his actions. The dilemma of the parents who discover that their child is different from other children is very well captured in the movie.
The fear that they will be alienated from their society if they accepted Ludovic’s sexual identity disturbs Ludovic’s parents to such an extent that they ignore the feelings their own son. Ludovic’s parents are torn between the love for their son and the expectations of the neighbors. “They love their son, but don’t know how to (or whether they should) break him of his feminine obsession. The resulting stress tears at the fabric of their marriage, and their disapproval threatens to destroy Ludovic. ” (Berardinelli).
Instead of accepting their child as he is, Ludovic’s parents attempt to alter his thoughts regarding his sexual identity. Ludovic’s persistence in his views about his sexual identity, lead to anxiety and stress for his parents. The conservative thinking of adults is incapable of understanding Ludovic’s state of mind. The pain and anguish faced by Ludovic’s parents is very well depicted in the movie along with the confusion that prevails in Ludovic’s mind regarding the harsh reactions of the society and family towards the expression of his sexual identity.
Weakness The movie brings forth the responses of a family and society when they realize that Ludovic is crossing the lines of sexual identity, which are drawn by the society. But it fails to comment on the future of an individual whose sexual identity differs from the notion of sexual identity held by the society. Ludovic’s dilemmas are resolved for the time being when his parents accept his feminine sexual identity. As Ludovic and his parents have moved in a new locality, Ludovic is also saved from the contempt of his old neighbors.
The new neighbors understand Ludovic’s feelings and provide him with the freedom to act according to his desires. But
The movie Ma Vie en Rose (My Life in Pink) comments on the expectations of the society regarding the expression of sexual identity by an individual. It brings forth the reaction of the society when a person flouts those expectations and follows his/her own sexual identity. Ludovic’s struggle against his parents and society, points towards the rigidity of the people who aim to deprive a human being from the freedom of expression of sexual identity of his/her preference. The circumstances in which Ludovic is placed by his parents and society present the influence of conservative thinking on the society.