LFF | “A Fantastic Woman” Review

12 October, 2017

Director: Sebastián Lelio
Screenwriters: Sebastián Lelio, Gonzalo Maza
Director of Photography: Benjamín Echazarreta
Cast: 
Daniela VegaFrancisco ReyesLuis Gnecco

Synopsis: A transgender singer struggling to come to terms with the death of her boyfriend discovers a key he left behind, sparking a compelling mystery while she attempts to make peace with his judgemental family.

A Fantastic Woman Review:

A cautionary tale with a deep understanding of internalised suffering and unbeaten resistance, “A Fantastic Woman” empowers its lead actress through subtle moments of defiance, seeing no victim in the good-natured Marina as she elbows her way through stress and hardship with a greater sense purpose on the other side. Looking for closure but finding her path skewed by social roadblocks, Marina quite literally pushes against the wind, seeking nothing but a simple farewell to the man she gave her heart to but ultimately having to prove herself as a real woman in the process.

Disinterested in the clean-cut transition from male to female but firmly believing in the allure of Daniela Vega’s physical ambiguity, “A Fantastic Woman” captures the essence of womanhood, expressing a softness without breasts or petite features as Daniela Vega bares (almost) all in a standout debut performance. Beautiful as both star and primary talent, Vega becomes the instant muse of director Sebastián Lelio who adores her performative flair as much as he believes rather short-sightedly in his own artistic vision.


Although great in vibrant moments of song and dance, “A Fantastic Woman” struggles to establish its story as a standalone work of art, finding itself heavily influenced by an Almodóvarian frame of reference despite its uniquely Chilean leanings. Somewhat unremarkable as a character study yet admirably resilient without feeling beaten down, the movie seeks few brownie points in its depiction of victimisation, proving neither camp nor overtly melodramatic in spite of the visual influence both styles have on the overall aesthetic.

 

Summary
Review Date
Movie
A Fantastic Woman
Rating
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