Ma vie en rose (My Life in Pink) is a 1997 Belgian film directed by Alain Berliner. It tells the story of Ludovic Fabre (Georges du Fresne), a child who was born male but consistently insists that she is supposed to be a girl. The film shows the struggle over the gender identity she and her family experience.
When the Fabre family move into their dream house with wonderful neighbors, everything seems perfect except for one thing - the youngest child Ludovic is a transgender girl; while she was born biologically male, she knows that she is a girl and wants to live as female. The rest of the family humor her as best they can, rationalizing that Ludovic is only trying to find her identity and will be over it soon.
Trouble begins when Ludovic befriends Jérôme, the son of her father's boss, and expresses a desire to marry him when Ludovic is finally "not a boy." When visiting Jérôme's house, Ludovic enters his sister's room and puts on one of her dresses, not realizing that the sister is deceased and the room was merely kept in memory of her. Jérôme's mother sees this and she and the rest of the neighbors are horrified. The community turns against Ludovic and, by extension, the rest of the Fabre family. After Ludovic stands in as Snow White in a school play, the parents of the other students send in a petition to have her expelled. Ludovic's father, under strain as an employee of Jérôme's father, is unable to cope and causes conflict within the family. After a particularly bad argument, Ludovic attempts to mend the situation by hiding in a freezer to commit suicide. She is found in time and allowed to wear a skirt to a neighborhood party. While the other neighbors greet him warmly, the father gets fired the next day and finds his house spray painted with graffiti. Ludo runs out of the house saying she got her period. Hannah, Ludovic's mother, gets furious at Ludo for saying that. She blames Ludovic for everything that has gone wrong. Hannah wants to set Ludo straight so she cuts her hair to make her look like her brothers. Ludo hates her mother for doing this and wants to live with her grandmother.
When Ludo and her grandmother go visit Ludo's parents one weekend, the father announces that he has a new job but it's out of town, and they have to move.
At their new house, Ludovic is befriended by Christine "Chris" Delvigne, a female-to-male transgender boy. Chris's mother invites Ludovic to Chris' dress-up birthday party, which she attends in a musketeer outfit. Chris, unhappy in his princess outfit, asks Ludo to swap and has her friends force Ludo to do so when she refuses. When Ludovic's mother sees her in the dress, she fears that their troubles are beginning again and lashes out by hitting her until the other party guests restrain her. She follows Ludovic to a billboard where she is shocked to see Ludovic in the picture, running away with a living Barbie-like doll named Pam. When she tries to follow, she falls through the ground and awakens at home. She and Ludovic's father assure Ludo that she may wear skirts if she wishes and she in turn assures her mother that she never really intended to run away with Pam.
Title and names
The film's title may be intended as a reference to the song "La Vie en rose" where being en rose (in pink) means being in love; in the film it refers to Ludovic's female-gender identity.
The film features a fictional fashion doll brand, Le monde de Pam; this brand is fashioned after the similar, yet real, doll line, Barbie.
The gender-ambiguous child (Ludovic's counterpart) near the end of the film has the same first name as screenwriter Chris Vander Stappen, who has written and directed several films involving lesbian relationships.
Although internationally presented as a Belgian film because of the nationality of Berliner, its director and co-screenwriter, the film is an international co-production between companies in Belgium, the United Kingdom and France — the majority of the production work was done by the French independient-film house Haut et Court and the shooting took place south of Paris, France, near the commune of Évry.
The color timing in the film is significant — it changes as parents exit from the school play, switching to cold-blue tones.
In the United States the film received an R rating by the Motion Picture Association of America, an unusual decision because the film has minimal sexual content, minimal violence, and mild language. Those opposed to the rating believe that the rating was the result of transphobia.