“A Fantastic Woman”–a movie review   Leave a comment

“A FANTASTIC WOMAN is the story of Marina, a waitress and singer, and Orlando, an older man, who are in love and planning for the future. After Orlando suddenly falls ill and dies, Marina is forced to confront his family and society, and to fight again to show them who she is: complex, strong, forthright, fantastic.” So goes the synopsis for this movie nothing mentioning that she is transgender which is the reason for/of the movie.

Sixty years ago it would have been Orlando’s mistress and twenty years ago his male lover, today it is his transgender partner. When Orlando unexpectedly dies, just like the mistress and gay lover in past years and still sometimes today, if they aren’t married, the family comes and takes away everything the couple had from the car to the apartment and even the dog. The most hurtful is not being allowed to attend the funeral or say goodbye.

The mistress, the gay lover and Marina had/have to face the indignities that all might face such as being called names, accused of murdering the lover, being abused by him or, with the latter two, being beaten up and possibly killed for being gay or transgender but Marina has the extra humiliation of having to strip for an excruciating body exam under the eyes of a female detective and a male doctor.

Maybe I have been around too long and have read too many books, seen too many films and movies where the mistress and/or gay man has been shunned or I have personally seen what happens to a gay couple when one dies and I don’t see the transgender person being any more degraded, though yes, today they are the target of hate and being misunderstood.

The director Sebastian Lelio, who also wrote the screenplay with Gonzalo Maza, doesn’t seem to involve the audience in what should be an emotionally touching story except in two scenes, with one being the strip search, which definitely shows how people can mistreat other people and the one scene that shows Marina for being the strong person she is.

Marina is played by transgender actress Daniela Vega who seems to be hindered by the director. There are certain moments when she shows vulnerability and/or strength but not enough of them. As difficult as it is for someone in that position one doesn’t feel empathy for her character. People who are new to what transgender and/or gay live through and what hostilities they face may find this movie interesting.

“A Fantastic Woman” is nominated for an Oscar as Best Foreign Film but I don’t recommend seeing it.

Movie trailer


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