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A Fantastic Woman — ‘a worthy successor to Almodóvar and Ozon’

A Fantastic Woman — ‘a worthy successor to Almodóvar and Ozon’

May 28
11:53 2018

Directed by Sebastián Lelio, 2017

Curzon Artificial Eye

The title is a celebration but also a curse. Marina, the transgender woman in question, has many virtues but is never allowed to forget that she is extraordinary.

Reeling after the sudden death of her older lover, she is treated with contempt and suspicion by his family and the Santiago authorities, accusing looks and casually transphobic comments adding constant insult to the injury of grief.

Director Sebastián Lelio lets us feel her plight without clobbering us with it — only in one shocking image do we see her face contorted by the violent hate of her persecutors. After Gloria, Lelio here confirms himself as a worthy successor to Almodóvar and Ozon, shooting with a crystalline precision that erupts in moments of soaring self-expression.

At all times the movie’s magnetic centre is Daniela Vega’s Marina, her melancholy, determined eyes constantly crying out for nothing more than being allowed to live an ordinary life.


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