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Ma Vie en Rose (My Life in Pink)

The search to discover one's identity has been the subject of more movies than you can shake a remote control at. What makes Alain Berliner's French drama Ma Vie en Rose -- the 1998 Golden Globe winner for Best Foreign Film -- such a delight is the way in which this tired subject is given fresh life, courtesy of one of the most interesting protagonists in recent memory: a seven-year-old boy named Ludo who wants more than anything to be a girl. Believing his male genitalia is a mistake that will soon be rectified by God, the young cross-dresser (an excellent performance by Georges Du Fresne) practices his feminine charm while awaiting delivery of his missing X chromosome. Confident that his days as a male are numbered, Ludo proudly tells his haggard parents of his plans to marry Jerome, the son of his father's boss. "Boys don't marry other boys," his mother (Michéle Laroque) explains. "I know," Ludo matter-of-factly informs her. "But I'll be a girl." Ma Vie en Rose boasts some of the loveliest cinematography in recent memory, employing a muted color palette of pastels (think Edward Scissorhands) and a number of vivid dream sequences. Berliner deserves credit for being clever enough to handle his film with respect; it would have been all-too-easy to allow this story to descend into the realm of screwball comedy -- a sort of Tootsie for tots -- but by keeping the emphasis on the drama (rather than the humor) of the situation, Berliner has crafted a work with the potential to charm while simultaneously preaching a message of tolerance. Ma Vie en Rose is presented in a good widescreen (1.85:1) transfer, but regrettably, the disc contains no extra features -- not even a trailer. Considering the staggering ($27.95) retail price, this is inexcusable. The lack of bang for the buck makes this otherwise excellent film a poor DVD value. Unless you're a serious fan, rent it.
—Joe Barlow

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