In "Tomboy," filmmaker Céline Sciamma's second feature, a family with two daughters, 10-year-old Laure and 6-year-old Jeanne, moves to a new suburban neighborhood during the summer holidays. With her Jean Seberg haircut and tomboy ways, Laure is immediately mistaken for a boy by the local kids, and decides to pass herself off as "Mikael," a boy different enough to catch the attention of the leader of the pack, Lisa, who becomes smitten.
At home with her parents and girlie younger sister, she is Laure: hanging out with her new pals and girlfriend, she is Mikael. Finding resourceful ways to hide her true self, Laure takes advantage of her new identity, as if the end of the summer would never reveal her unsettling secret. Sciamma brings a light and charming touch to this contemporary coming-of-age story, which is also about relationships between children, children and parents, and the even more complicated one between one’s heart and body.
While summer is usually the slowest time of the year on the home market, this week is fantastic with a lot of prime releases, including first-run, TV on DVD releases, classics and limited releases. Unfortunately, the largest single category is, "Screener is Late". You will see that phrase countless times on this list. (Perhaps it's because last week was a short week due to Memorial Day.) It is especially hard to select a Pick of the Week, because I don't like handing out that title when the screener is late. There are a few likely candidates, including Burn Notice: The Complete Fifth Season, Yellow Submarine on Blu-ray, but I went with Tomboy on DVD.
There were only two films that were able to crack the $10,000 club this weekend, but they were both huge hits. The Descendants opened with more than $1 million in 29 theaters, for an average of $41,038. Add in the film's reviews and its Awards Season buzz and there's little doubt that the film will expand wide. Speaking of wide, the only other film in the $10,000 club was The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1. The overall box office leader took in $138 million in 4,061 theaters, for an average of $34,012.
It's a great week for limited releases, but not because there are a huge number of releases, but because this week The Descendants comes out. This is Alexander Payne's first feature-length film in seven years. (He directed a segment of Paris, je t'aime since then.) His previous three feature-length films all earned at least one Oscar nomination and it would be a major shock if this film didn't also perform well during Awards Season. There are other films coming out this week, including a few earning good reviews, but their box office chances are dwarfed by this movie's potential.
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