“OPEN UP TO ME”
Finnish director Simo Halinen “Open Up to Me” is a film about transgender Maarit who is mistakenly mistaken for a psychotherapist by an overwrought man. Because Maarit likse her “patient”, she keeps in touch with him and something beautiful even seems to be on tap. Maarit (formerly Mauritz) is trans but we don’t really see that. The truth soon emerges, but at a time when Maarit and her patient Sami already have a strong bond. They not only share a hidden loneliness and love for football. This is a film about identity and accepting the foreign— the strange in ourseves and the strange others.
Maarit (Leea Klemola) has transitioned from male to female and is now trying to find her new place in life, something not made easier by the fact that she’s now estranged from her former wife and daughter. She wants to help people and so when an unexpected opportunity arises when she almost accidentally poses as a therapist for teacher Sami (Peter Franzén), who is experiencing a marital crisis.
She quickly admits what she’s done, partly because she has feelings for Sami, which soon results in the two of them beginning an affair. Maarit also gets a job as school counsellor, helping young people, but also having to face the fact that whenever there’s an issue many are going to be trying to find reasons why it’s about her being a transsexual.
In the past. most gay-themed films were solely about the character’s homosexuality but now more movies are show that it is just an aspect of personality. “Open Up To Me” could best be described as ‘post-trans’. While Maarit’s identity is crucial to her journey, it’s presented as just one facet of her life and search for happiness.