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Colloquially-told story of a few days in the life of Marieta, who's saving money for the last operation in her change from man to woman. She works as a prostitute in Madrid and longs for a legitimate job. Whenever she builds up her savings, her housemate and best friend Tomás finds ways to spend, lose, or cost her those funds. She meets Raúl, whom she likes and who likes her; the trouble is he also likes that part of her she wants removed. If that's not enough, she also has narcolepsy, and when she conks out, she dreams of musical-theater numbers in which she's the singing and dancing star. Are these dreams always going to be 20 centimeters out of reach?
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The contrast between a serious, touching story and more upbeat, sometimes silly (in a GOOD way!) song and dance numbers is filmmaking at it's classic, artistic best. I thoroughly love the way the director weaved the lighthearted, but well-choreographed musical numbers into the drama of a story about a person struggling to just get through life and come to terms with their true place in it. Marvelously done!
The only thing one must be aware of is that this is not your standard American, family-values kind of movie. It has it's share of vulgarity and profanity, not to mention a few scenes that shockingly border on pornographic. If one looks through the lens of film as an artistic expression, and can appreciate that this is not a regurgitation from Hollywood, those scenes can be better appreciated for their artistic merit.
Last of all, I have to honestly say that the lead character could've used a few more singing lessons before the film was finished. She is very capable in her role as protagonist and projects the heartaches and joys of a transsexual woman very authentically despite not actually being transsexual in real life, but her ability to sing forcefully and in tune is not consistent. For this reason alone I gave the movie 4 stars instead of 5.
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