Critical Condition: Butterfly

Butterfly | TVNZ 1, 8.30 Wednesday

☆☆☆☆ “As you might expect from the first mainstream drama about a transgender child who wants to transition, there is a sense of touchstones being arranged … Beyond these few odd clunks, it is a wonderfully delicate drama that covers new ground carefully and features fully realised characters at war with their instincts, intellects and worse or better natures.” — The Guardian.

☆☆☆ “Fine as all the performances are, including a turn by Alison Steadman as a granny who disapproves of ‘Maxine’s funny ways’, the most compelling presence throughout is Maxine, played by Callum Booth-Ford. The blend of androgyny and steel, confusion and guile, self-loathing and pride – it could have been a gigantic sickly mess of emotional self-indulgence for all concerned. It isn’t.” — The Independent.

☆☆☆ “This engaging drama occasionally fell foul of cliché … But it was an unarguably well-intended, carefully calibrated pushback against lazy prejudice or rushes to judgment, never soft-pedalling the difficulties for everyone involved. If it helps one child or parent, then it will have done its job.” — The Telegraph.

☆☆ “If a purpose of drama is to reflect what’s going on in our world, then Butterfly, ITV’s lightning-rod about a family dealing with their 11-year-old’s gender dysphoria, is so far doing that as sensitively as you could ask. However, there is another kind of drama — one that tells you how it would like the world to be. Butterfly’s first episode was treading carefully, but why do I get the sense that I’m about to have a great big agenda pushed on me?” — The Times.

☆☆☆☆ “For those who are not transgender, it can be hard to understand what it must be like to be born one gender but identify as the other. This three-part British drama does an incredible job of making the subject matter relatable …  Without losing sight of the fact that this is a family drama (and not an instructional video), Butterfly addresses many of the issues concerning transgender people in a sensitive and realistic manner.” — Who.

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