52 Tuesdays (NR)
It's during these few hours that this intimate near-masterpiece takes place, weaving James's transition tale with Billie's sexual coming-of-age. (The voyeuristic high schooler meets her new best friends by spying on their make-outs, and later plays director of their caresses before wedging herself between them.) James's exposition-heavy story can feel overly educational, but Billie's is a heady exploration of sexual and gender expression, familial responsibilities, and adolescent friendships. Billie accepts James's new identity completely, but can't help resenting -- or taking advantage of -- her mother's parental hiatus. Later, she's slow to realize that having a transgender mother is far from the worst fate she can suffer.
Despite his deep reserves of kindness, James, too, is a compellingly flawed parent, making for an emotionally resonant family drama that comes to a head when a teacher discovers the naked photos on Billie's phone. Grippingly plotted and exquisitely thoughtful, 52 Tuesdays is a poignant reminder that neither confusion nor crisis is doomed to be calamitous.