Bad Hair

A working-poor single mother in Caracas is alarmed when her nine-year-old son begins acting effeminately; unconscious of her own failure to provide him with a male role model, she gradually withdraws her affection. Writer-director Mariana Rondon, dividing her attention and sympathy between mother and son, shows how each of them falls prey to heteronormative prejudice. Yet the psychological drama grows organically out of everyday conflict—the mother struggling to find steady work, the son getting bullied at school—and an immersive treatment of the housing project where the characters live. This is an accomplished piece of social realist filmmaking, clear-eyed but tender. In Spanish with subtitles.