a film by Richard Spence
1996 | 97 mins | UK
›› Different for Girls
a refreshingly different odd-couple styled romance.
Different for Girls by Richard Spence Essentially a variation on the odd-couple scenario, this touching feature from director Richard Spence has a lot going for it, in particular and like Kimberly Peirce's powerful work Boys Don't Cry, having the guts to cinematically showcase the nature of transsexuality; albeit from a variant and all the more heartwarming angle.

Not that motorcycle courier Paul Prentice is aware that love is about to come crashing, literally, into his life, when a head-on encounter with a taxi brings him in contact with former classmate Karl Foyle of many a school year gone by. Only the boy back then, is now a woman, having undergone surgery to emerge as Kim; a lady of refinement with a successful career as a verse writer for a major greetings card company. Trouble is, Paul hasn't changed his roughneck ways at all; striking out as ever at society and as their renewed friendship grows, at a police officer whose hands-on approach to crime was via Kim's skirt. Spending a night at her majesty's pleasure thereafter, Kim is left to question whether Paul is truly her knight in shining armour, or a high school reunion that she is best without?

Different for Girls by Richard Spence Written by Tony Marchant, this BBC Films production treats the subject material with the respect and dignity that it rightfully deserves. Sure, between all of the drama and comical asides of the piece, a number of educational points are to be found. Yet it is in discussing the clear difference between gender and sexual preference that the film's most telling line lies, courtesy of Paul reinforcing his heterosexuality, citing "I am straight you know," words that are promptly followed by Kim's poignant response "so am I."

True, the film is not without some negatives, but and as expected both Steven Mackintosh and Rupert Graves of Maurice fame deliver the acting goods, excelling as opposites in every sense of the word, with Mackintosh in particular giving a beautifully compassionate performance. And whilst the story is not all theirs given its various subplots, notably Kim's relationship with her sister and in turn her army Sergeant husband, there's equally no denying that it is the central bond between the Yin Yang fashioned protagonists that has you hooked. That the whole affair arrives with a neat twist come the finale, only adds to the joy of this refreshingly different odd-couple styled romance; odd not by way of sexuality, but rather down to its pivotal opening sequence. But then, you know what they say about opposites.

Trans Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - the full monty. 
Overall - file under ... 3+ stars. 

›› Available to buy from Amazon.com.
available on DVD as part of the Fox Lorber catalogue 25.January.2000 / US.
starring: Steven Mackintosh / Karl - Kim Foyle, Rupert Graves / Paul Prentice, Miriam Margolyes / Pamela,
Saskia Reeves / Jean, Charlotte Coleman / Alison, Neil Dudgeon / Neil Payne, Nisha Nayar / Angela,
Lia Williams / Defence Solicitor, Robert Pugh / DS Cole, Philip Davis / Taxi Driver,
Rick Warden / PC Ken and Kevin Allen as PC Alan.
cameo appearance by Ian Dury as the Recovery Agent.
Revised and Copyright 2012 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
archive reference #153
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