The real reason that Dutch filmmaker Maria Peters’ movie The Conductor came on Queerguru’s radar in the first place is that the secondary plot line centers on a trans man refreshingly played by the talented trans actor Scott Turner Schofield,
This biopic is the heavily dramatized take on the true story of Antonia Brico (Christanne de Bruijn), a Dutch musician who becomes the first woman to conduct the New York Philharmonic in the 1920s. It’s a rags-to-riches tale of an unhappy adopted girl with a very strong feminist streak who insists against all odds on fighting with every man who gets in her way to achieve her unlikely dream.
Peters script cannot quite decide if her movie should be a sad tale of abuse, a Me Too drama, a doomed romance, a feminist tale, or an old fashioned film that used to be called a ‘women’s picture’. The film fluctuates so widely, not helped at all by the unsure performance from de Bruijn as the frustrated musician.
However the sub plot of Robin (played by Turner Schofield) at least gives the movie both some heart and authenticity. Robin is her best friend and confident who gets Antonio a job playing piano in a Drag Bar so she at least has a living wage whilst she is studying to be conductor. Antonio has no idea of Robin’s past until in the later part of the film, in the most touching scene, he chooses to reveal it to show Antonio that everyone must struggle to be their own true selves,
Kudos to Peters too for making the story of Robin’s gender a non-issue.