“VALENTINA”— Not Your Average Girl

“VALENTINA”

Not Your Average Girl

Amos Lassen

Valentina (Thiessa Woinbackk) is your average teen girl in Brazil. She likes music, argues with her mom, can be temperamental and has a lot of drama in her life. She is also transgender.

Valentina and her mom (Guta Stresser) have moved from Sao Paolo to a small country town to get a new start. She had been the victim of bullies at her old school and she is eager to go to the new school under her new identity. The problem is that the school won’t let her do that without the signature of both parents. Her father (Romulo Braga) who is no longer with her mom and has had a hard time adjusting to the change of Valentina.

At school, she is wary about telling anyone her secret because she does not want to be a victim again. She starts making friends but chooses not to tell them that she wasn’t born a girl. However, complications start when she is groped by a young man who works in the butcher shop who had been sweet on her. He tells her bigoted brother who wants Valentina to be thrown out of school and is willing to go to extremes to see that this happens and he rallies parents in school to sign a petition. However, nothing is going to keep Valentina down, especially after her father turns up in her corner.

Woinbackk is a trans activist and popular YouTube personality in her Brazil and we  wonder how much of Valentina’s story is her story.

Valentina is portrayed not as a transgender first and a girl second, but as a girl who just happens to be transgender. We get to meet the person and not a stereotype. Valentina could be any teen girl.

The classroom confrontation at the end of the movie between Valentina and the bigot, however, seems contrived.