Critics' Picks: 'Tomboy,' traffic tweets, the novel 'Rodin's Debutante'
Three things Seattle Times writers love this week: the quietly terrific French film "Tomboy," about a 10-year-old girl who reinvents herself as a boy; WSDOT traffic tweets; and novelist Ward Just's "Rodin's Debutante."
This quietly terrific French film tells the tale of a 10-year-old girl who, with a move to a new town, re-
invents herself as the boy she feels she really is. It's a liberating lie that, however naturally it comes to her, can't be sustained. Director Céline Sciamma brilliantly captures the way questions and assumptions about gender and sexual orientation can permeate children's existence before they even have a vocabulary to deal with them. No villains here — just a quandary that's reluctantly faced by kids and grown-ups alike.
Seattle Times arts writer
Transportation is not the sexiest topic, but in the Seattle area, it's definitely hot. Inquiring drivers want to know: Why is I-5 at a standstill? What part of the 520 bridge is closed? Has that accident on I-90 been cleared? Washington State Department of Transportation comes to the rescue with its Twitter feed (@WSDOT), offering constantly updated info. Bonus: the feed has lots of follower participation, so don't be surprised if your traffic tweet gets a reply.
Weekend Plus editor
I have never met a book by Ward Just that I didn't like, and this one, his 17th novel, is no exception. Just, a journalist turned novelist, is a master at evoking character and place, weaving it all together in a seamless, economical style. In this 2011 book, place is a small Illinois town, a rural boys' preparatory academy and Chicago's Hyde Park and South Side; characters include the very eccentric founder of the academy and a young graduate whose trajectory as an artist and sculptor keeps crisscrossing that of the founder and his past.
Mary Ann Gwinn,
Seattle Times book editor