Program 37: Just Charlie
Directed by Rebekah Fortune
WARNING: This film contains a scene depicting transphobic violence.
At just 14 years old, Charlie Lindsay is being recruited by a top football club, putting him on the fast track to the premier league. It’s any kid’s dream come true. Everyone he knows is thrilled for him… so why isn’t he happy? Lurking beneath the surface is a secret so suffocating that it’s affecting every aspect of his life. Typically affable and well-liked, he’s become withdrawn and combative. He’s stopped doing his homework. He can’t manage to find any joy in his sister’s upcoming wedding. Soon Charlie will need to summon the strength to let go of his secret.
The real Charlie isn’t the person that everyone else sees. The actual Charlie underneath the exterior is a girl. Once this truth is revealed, the story moves quickly, showing many phases of Charlie’s transition, from early doctor visits, to puberty blockers, to shifting apparel. We see Charlie transfer to a girls’ soccer team and watch her courageously go to school dressed as herself for the first time. But perhaps the most profound aspect of the film is the intimate look at how this changing landscape has affected all the other people in Charlie’s life. Charlie’s dad struggles to understand why Charlie is “doing this to us.” Meanwhile Mom is Charlie’s biggest cheerleader on and off the pitch. She doesn’t always understand, but is steadfast in her support. Charlie’s sister, her coach, her best friend, even her new teammates have a role to play in the story.
Just Charlie is a masterfully told story. The film perfectly portrays so many different aspects of Charlie’s transition. This, combined with a stellar ensemble of supporting characters, makes Just Charlie one of the most complete transition stories in years. Like the compelling character at its center, this film will inspire and transform everyone it touches.
— Stephen K. Weisenreder
AWARDS & ACCOLADES
- AUDIENCE AWARD, Best Feature Film – Edinburgh International Film Festival
- GOLDEN SLIPPER AWARD, Best Feature Film For Youth – Zlin Film Festival (Czech Republic)
- OFFICIAL SELECTION – Guadalajara International Film Festival
- OFFICIAL SELECTION – Frameline San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival
- OFFICIAL SELECTION – Shanghai International Film Festival
- OFFICIAL SELECTION – Torino LGBTQI Film Festival