A Fantastic Woman (2017)

A Fantastic Woman Movie Review

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A Fantastic Woman Movie Review

A Fantastic Woman is a 2017 Chilean drama film directed by Sebastian Lelio and starring Daniela Vega. It is one of the year’s finest dramas.

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What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

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A Fantastic Woman Movie Review

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It follows Marina who is a trans woman living with her much older boyfriend. Once he dies, she starts experiencing terrible things: all of his family says horrible things to her, they forbid her to come to the funeral and she is questioned by the police and examined by the doctors.

That is the story of this hard to watch, difficult, but very important and necessary feature film from Chile. This is a harsh reminder of how simply horrible, unforgivably bad lives are for trans people, especially trans women. It is a testament to how powerful the film is that I was maddened, disgusted and appalled at what was happening to Marina and I wanted to help her and punch those people in the face.

The funeral scene of course is very difficult to watch as is the car sequence. The detective was awful to her as well as Orlando’s ex-wife and the policemen. However, the scene at the doctor’s proved to be the most horrible one. She had to get naked to prove if the “two fought” when in actuality these people are just so sickeningly curious about her genitals and simply transphobic.

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A Fantastic Woman Movie Review

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The film showcases transphobia from many angles and is thus probably the most quintessential film about transphobia that we got so far and thus everyone should watch it and I really mean that as the film has the power to open people’s eyes and make them see how horrible cisgender people can be toward the trans community. Whether calling her by male name or¬† asking about her genitals and surgery or telling her that she is sick or thinking that she is a prostitute – all of these are the variety of hate that trans women receive on a daily basis and the film shows them so well in one full package.

A Fantastic Woman isn’t perfect as some scenes aren’t as important in the context of the story and I do think that the protagonist should have been a bit better developed. The film is concerned a lot about her problems but not enough about herself and her personality as well as life before Orlando’s death.

But even though the ending is not what you would expect from this story, it was still beautiful to witness as you see the sheer strength and resilience in her face and thus the title of the movie is very much earned in this instance. The movie conveyed her strength so well and of course in real life trans women have to be tough in order to survive so this is very realistic. She is a tragic, but admirable character for sure.

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A Fantastic Woman Movie Review

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Daniela Vega gave one of the year’s best performances without any doubt and the fact that he did not receive any nominations from the American awards just shows how xenophobic they really are. She is subtle in the role, grounded and always competent. This was a complex role and she pulled it off – amazing for a film debut.

Sebastian Lelio also directed this film stupendously, it flows well and is so well edited and paced with good score and many memorable, so well shot sequences. It is a wonderful, heartbreaking film that is important for everyone to see and an essential foreign film from 2017.

A Fantastic Woman is one of the year’s finest dramas and such a difficult, tragic, yet important and necessary watch. It deals with a very difficult subject matter in a very subtle, grounded and layered manner and is almost a quintessential film about transphobia. It has a lot of emotional scenes, it is so well directed by Sebastian Lelio and phenomenally performed by Daniela Vega who delivered one outstanding acting debut here.

My Rating – 4.5

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Posted in 2010s, 2017, Chilean, Drama, FILM DECADES, Foreign, MOVIE REVIEWS and tagged , , , , , , , .

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