A Fantastic Woman
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Marina and Orlando are in love and planning their future, when one night Orlando suddenly falls ill and passes away. Instead of being able to mourn her lover, Marina is treated with suspicion by authorities and with disdain by his family. She is forbidden to attend his funeral and thrown out of the apartment they shared. Marina is a trans woman and for most of Orlando’s family, her sexual identity is a perversion. So she must battle the very same forces that she has spent a lifetime fighting just to become the woman she is now – a complex, strong, forthright and fantastic. In Spanish with English subtitles.
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Couple of comments: the is the latest movie from Chilean writer-director Sebastian Lelio, whose previous film, 2013's "Gloria" was an equally outstanding film. Here he examines the fallout of the unexpected passing of a guy who is in a relationship with a transgender woman, in particular the reactions from the guy's family, but also the hospital and the police who are looking at this as a possible suspect death. Beware: there are a number of scenes that are bound to unsettle you (I know they were unsettling to me). Of course, Lelio is trying to make a bigger point here (namely, everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity). Not enough praise can be given to Daniela Vega (in the role of Marina), appearing in virtual every frame of the movie. Last weekend, "A Fantastic Woman" won the Best Foreign Language Movie Oscar. Is it really 2017's best foreign movie? Certainly Sweden's "The Square" could've made a good argument but in the end it doesn't matter. When watching a movie like this, it's at times hard to separate the intrinsic artistic merit of the movie and the social issues it portrays. All I can say is that this movie had my attention from the get-go, and that it all flashed by in no time, always a good sign.
"A Fantastic Woman" opened this weekend at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati. The early Saturday evening screening where I saw this at was attended sparingly (about 10-12 people), somewhat to my surprise, given the critical buzz this movie has garnered sine it premiered at last Fall's Toronto International Film Festival. If you are in the mood for a top-notch quality foreign film, or interested to see how a transgender woman's life unfolds after the unexpected death of her partner, I encourage you to see out "A Fantastic Woman", be it in the theater, on Amazon Instant Video, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray. "A Fantastic Woman" is a WINNER.
The production quality of this film is first rate. If I had to pick out something to complain about it would be a few too many close ups. Daniela Vega is certainly beautiful and does a great job. Having seen it in the theater I wanted a copy for my collection. It's my hope and prayer that this film catalyses a better view of transgender people in South America. For Chile it has become a symbol of national pride and Vega a national hero.