Part mystery, part coming of age story, Arianna explores a life changing summer in the life of an Italian girl as she discovers secret truths about herself long hidden by her parents.
Why, for example, does her body seem to be developing so much more slowly than those of other girls her age? Why has she never had her period? Tortured by her feelings of otherness, eager to have a boyfriend and experience life, sensing that there is something her parents are hiding from her. she starts to search for answers. Meanwhile, strange memories triggered by a return to a lake house in the country her family has not visited since she was a small child lead her toward the secret.
I am writing about this movie, so you probably can guess the secret by that fact alone– Arianna was born a boy, or more precisely a hermaphrodite, and her parents elected to have surgery performed to remove her male parts. They then decided to keep this a secret from her, but they could not change her psyche and she finds herself dwelling in a kind of middle ground between genders eschewing feminine clothes, climbing trees, yet longing for a boyfriend and to experience sex.
The film is beautifully shot, and the actors all deliver compelling performances. It does feature European art-film pacing, though, so you will need both patience and focus to truly experience the film and let it wash over and affect you. I found it extremely moving, and will certainly watch it again.
It is currently available in the US on Hulu and Amazon, and here is the trailer.