Review: Director’s risky business

Imogen Archer and Tilda Cobham-Hervey in 52 Tuesdays

Imogen Archer and Tilda Cobham-Hervey in 52 Tuesdays

Jane (Del Herbert-Jane) is undergoing gender transition from a woman to a man. Because of the stresses this life-altering choice is going to have on her she’s asked her 16 year old daughter Billie (Tilda Cobham-Hervey) to move out and live with her father Tom (Beau Travis Williams). Over the course of a year Billie is allowed to visit her mother after school and only on Tuesdays. That’s all Jane can handle.

This arrangement throws Billie on an early path to independence due to her father’s lack of any real responsibilities and her mother’s selfish decision to throw her daughter out during a delicate age for most teenage girls. It also brings on a rebellious streak in Billie as she begins sneaking out at night to film strange sexual explorations with two underage schoolmates she barely knows.

52 Tuesdays is a peculiar filmmaking experiment. It’s one that sets itself curious boundaries like shooting one day a week for 52 weeks with non-professional actors in lead roles. Sophie Hyde’s directorial debut is definitely a bold vision for a daring newcomer but were all those restrictions worth it? Not really.

“a bold vision for a daring newcomer but were all those restrictions worth it?”

The overall experience of 52 Tuesdays is a frustrating one. Because of the limitations set by the film’s makers the disputations between characters end abruptly and often without resolve. This leaves little room for sympathy for these confused characters who seem to do very little to help their personal dilemmas.

Although their supporting characters are a little underwritten the performances of the two leads are effective. Cobham-Hervey’s performance is an impressive stand-out for a trained circus performer. Her smile is infectious and her characters pain of being abandoned by her mother radiates for most of the film.

Del Herbert-Jane was originally brought in as a consultant but was convinced to play the character of Jane. She brings an authentic determination to her character more experienced actors would struggle with. 52 Tuesdays deserves to be praised for this casting decision.

As a director Hyde is more than talented enough to helm a feature film but hopefully with her next project she can pair her cheeky playfulness with a more traditionally structured narrative.

52 Tuesdays: 3/5
Directed by: Sophie Hyde
Starring: Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Del Herbert-Jane and Beau Travis Williams
Review by: Matthew Eeles

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