‘A Fantastic Woman’ in cinemas now is one to watch out for

Jackie and I both independently saw 'A Fantastic Woman' and wanted to share our views of this thoughtful film with others. It is currently out on general release.

Chilean writer/director Sebastián Lelio has delivered an Almodavoresque film in 'A Fantastic Woman' , which begins with death and evolves into a touching statement about one’s right to live the life one chooses.

Transgender performer Daniela Vega delivers remarkable work as Marina, a man in his mid-20s who is partway to a new trans identity. Marina’s day job is waitressing, but, with a wonderful voice and a commanding stage presence, she seems headed for a career as a singer in nightclubs and opera halls. But then her 30-years-older, wealthy lover is hospitalized after an aneurysm and a bruising tumble down their apartment stairs. Grief-stricken Marina faces mistrust and indignities from the police, who suspect physical abuse, and from her lover’s bitter ex-wife and family. The resilient Marina experiences unrelenting unkindness.
Vega has a sublimely thoughtful face, giving us a sense of Marina’s polite composure and hints of the impatience just below the surface. Lelio grants the straightforward story several symbolic moments, each with a message which is easily understood. Although the 21st-century issue of transphobia is the context of the story, it’s a film that anyone who has felt marginalised for any reason can watch with understanding and empathy.

Joanne Manson-FTL Member

Ruby Lee