A Fantastic Woman ★★★★☆

The Oscar-nominated film from Chile, A FANTASTIC WOMAN and the film’s lead actress, Daniela Vega, are nothing short of fantastic. In a year where most of the talk regarding LGBT Academy Award-nominated films has been about CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, A FANTASTIC WOMAN is deserving of equal attention. Writer/Director Sebastian Lelio made a film that explores how life can be for transgendered people and how some close-minded outsiders treat them.

Marina Vidal (Vega, who is also trans), on the night of her birthday celebration with her boyfriend, Orlando, experiences tragedy when he dies.  Not only does she have to cope with his death, she also has to deal with his family and society around her, most of whom do not see her as equal or even a human being. Marina goes through one obstacle to next, from getting kicked out of her boyfriend’s apartment to being told not to come to her boyfriend’s funeral, growing stronger and independent.

Vega, who was a consultant to the director for the film before he signed her on to do the film, gives such a brilliant performance as Marina, giving so much emotion with just a look.  We feel her pain and her sorrow and her uneasiness.  Lelio, the director, tells a bold, emotional story whilst examining trans issues in society. There are some weaknesses in the film, sometimes it does wanders a bit with a few plot points but overall it is a film about acceptance of others and treating people like human beings.

Words by Russell Boaz

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