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Review: 'Alice Junior' Should Be Compulsory Viewing In All High Schools

by Roger Walker-Dack
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Oct 6, 2020
'Alice Junior'
'Alice Junior'  

Filmmaker Gil Baroni's latest movie, "Alice Junior, fresh from its glowing reception at the Berlinale earlier this year, is yet another example of how innovative and sublime queer movies made in Brazil really are.

This tale of a vibrant trans teenager who refuses to be bowed down by transphobia is like a breath of fresh air.  Alice Junior is a successful YouTuber (played by the blogger Anne Celestino Mota) who lives with her father (Emmanuel Rosset), a perfumier in Recife, an exotic, bustling city.  One day he comes home to announce that, as a result of a work commission, they will be moving down South temporarily.  

It's not just that they are moving to a remote country town; the only school available is a fiercely conservative Catholic Academy. The principal insists on misgendering Alice, calling her by her birth name and making her wear a boy's uniform. We know that life will have to get worse before it gets better, and it does, but before long Alice has turned initially hostile classmates into close friends. The fact that she is the only one to stand up to the school bully - and actually breaks his nose when he picks on a timid gay boy - makes her a heroine.

The story tackles all the cliched problems (such as the bathroom issue) with dignity, but also with a great deal of humor, which will help get the message across to the young and curious audience at which this movie is clearly aimed.

With a liberal use of animation and flashing graphics, Baroni gives the movie the look and feel of the best of YouTube. The style works well without distracting from the main crux of the story.

Full credit to Mita for a compelling pitch-perfect performance as Alice,  The camera totally loves her... as do we... and we cannot wait to see what she will do next.

"Alice Junior" is not only a gem but also should be compulsory viewing in all high schools.

Roger Walker-Dack, a passionate cinephile, is a freelance writer, critic and broadcaster and the author/editor of three blogs. He divides his time between Miami Beach and Provincetown.

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