A Girl Like Me: The Gwen Araujo Story
(2006, USA, English)
Reviewed by Bruce Kogan
Gwen Araujo was born some twenty years ago as a biological male and raised with a brother and sister in a single parent household.
It was apparent as shown in the film that Eddie as he was known then was feeling that the anatomy given at birth was not matching what was felt inside. In the teen years, Eddie took the name of Gwen to show her real persona and that was what she presented to the world.
If the Gwen Araujo Story has a weakness it's that their are no really developed secondary characters in the film. It is dominated completely by Mercedes Ruehl as Gwen's mom and J.D. Pardo as Gwen.
But these are two very powerful performances indeed. Ruehl is a loving, caring mother whose own life experiences have left her ill equipped to comprehend what her child is dealing with. As for Gwen, she's an innocent adolescent, but a brave one. Not comprehending why she's the object of such hate and ridicule, but determined to present herself to the world as she sees herself. Pardo does a great job in capturing both parts of Gwen's character.
Had this been done for the big screen we might have gotten a more well rounded film, but as a made for TV film this is definitely one of the better ones. Hopefully a couple of Emmys might be in the future for both Ruehl and Pardo.
It is also to be hoped that this film will educate and enlighten the public about transgender teens and what they face in their daily lives.