Picks and Pans Review: Ma Vie En Rose

updated 02/02/1998 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/02/1998 AT 01:00 AM EST

Georges Du Fresne

In this unusual Belgian film, little Ludovic, a 7-year-old boy living in a suburb that looks strikingly American, possesses a momentous secret: He is actually a girl. Not anatomically, but in his mind. Ludovic (Du Fresne) is absolutely certain that he will grow up to be a woman, somehow, and even become the bride of his best friend. Until that future vision comes true, Ludovic makes do with playing dressup. He lets his brown hair flop onto his forehead in gamine bangs. He daydreams about running off to a candy-colored Utopia with his doll. Du Fresne, whose face is as translucently pale as a Renaissance portrait, is completely convincing. Not exactly "girlish," he imbues Ludovic with a delicate, grave remoteness, even as his parents and neighbors grow shrill—-actually, more shrill than is believable—trying to reform him. How often does an 11-year-old actor (now 12) capture the spirit of Catherine Deneuve? (R)

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