Little Miss Westie

An absolutely wonderful film that takes you inside the home of the McCarthy family. A warm, funny, heartfelt documentary about parents raising a teenage boy and little girl, in a slice-of-life sort of way. The fact both of the kids are trans adds an additional level of challenge in this Trump era, but it is constantly undercut by the ordinariness of their lives.

The loose thread which is pulled through the narrative is the decision for the little girl, Ren, to compete in the Little Miss Westie competition, a kids’ pageant. Ren’s older brother Luca competed in the pageant when he was living as female, and he has a lot to say about it. You’d think that he might have found the experience a difficult one, as he had to get up and perform dances in dresses on stage, but he looks back on the experience fondly, that expressing his talents had really helped his self-esteem. And now he is a total stage brother, coaching Ren to win the crown.

The whole thing is hilarious, as Ren is just her little weird self, and insists on wearing her Pusheen onesie in the dress-up round.

Also – and I can’t say this enough – I love Ren. Ren is a legend and I want to be Ren. She basically just wanders around dreamily in a long swishy skirt and cat ears, looking at pictures of llamas on her iPad. I heart her so much.

The constant anxiety of whether Ren will be accepted as female in the competition hangs in the background, but the unconditional love and support from her family means more anxiety seems to go into whether she will ever learn to pose or twirl well. Really just the loveliest warm hug of a film.

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