Thursday, 5 October 2017

A Fantastic Woman (2017 EIFF 6)


Yeah, I know, I’m writing about the ‘wow’ films at EIFF first rather than pacing myself. But these great films are the ones I want to write about while they are fresh in my mind. There are other excellent films still coming, as well as a couple of duds.

The most sublime performance of the 2017 EIFF (so far - I have three films to go) is that of Daniela Vega as Marina Vidal, a young waitress and aspiring singer in Chile whose life is turned upside down after the sudden death of her much older boyfriend, Orlando (Francisco Reyes). 

At the heart of Sebastián Lelio’s A Fantastic Woman lies the fact that Marina is a trans woman. Because of that, she is treated abominably by most of Orlando’s family, who view her as a perversion, and by the various authorities she has to face because of the circumstances of Orlando’s death. It is devastating to watch, but Marina’s strength in the midst of grief never wavers and this well-written film tells her story with great compassion. 

A Fantastic Woman is a timely heartfelt film that features stunning cinematography, great music and solid performances, all of which are overshadowed by Vega’s performance, which is so nuanced and electric that the film’s acting and writing flaws are difficult to see. Expect an Academy Award nomination for Vega. A Fantastic Woman gets a solid ****. My mug is up - don’t miss it if it comes to a theatre near you. 

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