You have to admire a film like "Ma Vie en Rose," which goes so far out of its way to make its main character sympathetic. But that doesn't mean you have to like it.

The movie, an unusual fantasy-drama about a 7-year-old who believes he is a girl born into a boy's body, is definitely not for all tastes. And it's rather despicable for the filmmakers to stack the deck against any and all opposing viewpoints. (Its pleas for tolerance and open-mindedness are too obvious and heavy-handed.)

First-time director Alain Berliner also strikes an uncomfortable blend of comic whimsy and overwrought drama that seems more fantastic than the film's imaginary sequences.

Still, Berliner has an eye for the bizarre, and young Georges du Fresne's performance as the lead character is nothing short of astonishing.

As played by du Fresne, Ludovic is a real handful for his parents, Hanna (Michele Laroque) and Pierre (Jean-Philippe Ecoffey). Not only does he spoil their housewarming party by showing up dressed as a female, he continues to shock them by proclaiming that he will one day marry a neighbor boy, Jerome (Julien Riviere).

In spite of his parent's efforts to "cure" him, Ludovic continues to cause problems in the neighborhood, as well as at Pierre's workplace (Jerome's father is Pierre's boss). Even sending the boy to a psychologist or to live with his sympathetic grandmother doesn't help, and his antics soon put the family at odds with the entire neighborhood.

To du Fresne's credit, he almost makes things work, and both Laroque and Ecoffey are quite good. And visually, the movie is quite stunning.

But Berliner's script suffers from some flawed situations and character motivations (the flip-flop in attitude between Ludovic's parents is particularly unconvincing).

"Ma Vie en Rose" is rated R for vulgar, sexually related dialogue, violence and a handful of profanities.