- Director: Sebastián Lelio
- Writer: Sebastián Lelio; Gonzalo Maza
- Producer: Maren Ade; Eduardo Castro
Oscar contender and Teddy award winner...what is it about A Fantastic Woman that has garnered so much praise and so many accolades? Well, it all depends on how you watch it...differing points-of-view will interpret the film [entirely] differently!
Those expecting a trans-infused, camp-extravaganza are going to be bitterly disappointed! The cynics who will regard it as just another addition to the trans*tsunami that has swept across the film [and television] production boards over the last year or so...probably will say: Told you so!
And then there are those who will play the hot potato of the moment...the political correctness card. Recently, there has been a much [heated] debate on the subject of trans*actors [exlusively] playing trans*characters...a debate that is as damaging to the acting profession as a double-bladed sword in a massacre. It's acting! Whoever takes a role - regardless of their gender identity - needs to deliver a plausible [and compelling] performance...Daniela Vega does just that - regardless of her gender identity - she acts!
You wouldn't expect a [real] serial killer to play a [fictional] serial killer - that's just downright ludicrous! Now, let that debate cease, here and now!
A Fantastic Woman is about grief. Sebastián Lelio delivers his story with a resolute composure...this composure either makes or breaks the film, depending on your point-of-view. There are no mad histrionics, there are no hysterical outbursts...Marina Vidal is staggeringly polite, simply compliant and systematically stripped of her love...by those who vehemently disapprove of her. This is a Chillean high[ish] society family...scandal will be avoided at all costs.
No denying, it is a hard watch...resisting the urge to scream at the screen, egging Marina on to stop bowing and bending is...an intolerable hardship in itself. Just imagine what she's going through!!! But...will she break, will she blow, will she take what is rightfully hers? Well...you'll just have to watch this fine, fine film to find out!
A film most worthy of all the praise and accolades.
Marina and Orlando are in love and plan to spend their lives together. She is working as a waitress and adores singing. Her lover, twenty years her senior, has left his family for her. One night, when they return home after having exuberantly celebrated Marina’s birthday at a restaurant, Orlando suddenly turns deathly pale and stops responding. At the hospital, all the doctors can do is confirm his death. Events follow thick and fast: Marina finds herself facing a female police inspector’s unpleasant questions, and Orlando’s family shows her nothing but anger and mistrust.
Orlando’s wife excludes Marina from the funeral; she also orders her to leave the apartment – which on paper at least belonged to Orlando – as soon as possible. Marina is a transgender woman. The deceased’s family feels threatened by her sexual identity. With the same energy she once used to fight for her right to live as a woman Marina, with head held high, now insists on her right to grieve. Even if her environment conspires against her, the film at least is entirely on her side, showing us a protagonist who, although increasingly side-lined, is nonetheless strong and worldly-wise – a truly fantastic woman.