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  • It's hard to even talk about LGBT matters in a country like Chile, so is exactly right there the significance of Sebastian Lelio's work. The characterizations are so well performed by the actors and actresses, that you can feel the anger and frustration of Marina, the love that Orlando feels for her, the everyday struggle of Marina in a society that rejects her sexuality, the hate from Orlando's family, etc.

    Is necessary a movie like this, is necessary a more open-mind society, is necessary to stop discrimination, is necessary to stop the hate.

    A fantastic woman, is ready to show the audience that there is no differences between a transgender person and a heterosexual one, the strong main character of Marina, will make you feel her never-ending fight to gain some respect, and how bad we, as society, make her feel.

    Thanks to Sebastian Lelio for bring this taboo to the light. Excellent work.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A Fantastic Woman is a very simple film, far more simple than it initially appears. Essentially the story boils down to this: A transgender woman has to deal with the family of her lover after his sudden and unexpected death. The film deals with themes of transphobia and grief, and it explores those particular themes very well, in some very confronting and uncomfortable ways, but from a story and character perspective, this film often leaves a lot to be desired.

    Marina, the titular 'Fantastic Woman', is defined purely by the fact that she's transgender. This isn't a big flaw per se, as the film is explicitly about how the culture of Chile and the world at large responds to that fact, but she doesn't really have much character besides that. She's a singer, she boxes, and she's very driven to get what she wants, despite the high amounts of adversity she faces throughout the film. The driving force of her character is her desire to pay her respects to her dead boyfriend one last time, while his family refuses to give her that, seeing her as a shameful part of his final moments, best forgotten. She isn't given that much development besides that, and it leaves us with a very one, maybe two-dimensional character with no real flaws that have consequences within the story.

    However the main issue I have with the film is that it basically abandons several plot threads as it goes along. Early in the film, there is some suspicion of foul play surrounding the boyfriend's death and she, being the last person to be with him, is the prime suspect. However this is mostly abandoned after one particularly uncomfortable scene where she is forced to have a physical examination by the detective and a doctor, which after its conclusion is basically hand waved away without much further thought. It is not brought up again (to my recollection) as to whether she is still seen as somehow complicit in her boyfriend's death, or whether the police decided to abandon the case altogether.

    Another plot thread that seemed to be abandoned is the entire opening scene, where it establishes the couple's relationship before the man dies, where he mentions buying tickets to see a famous waterfall in 10 days time, but has misplaced the tickets. To my memory, she never finds the tickets or goes to the waterfall to do anything after the conclusion of the movie. It just seems like another missed opportunity for further development.

    I do want to make clear though, that I do think this film is still worth watching. Transgender characters are still relatively rare in film and television, and even when they do pop up every now and then, they are often portrayed by non-transgender actors in heavy makeup. However Daniela Vega is herself transgender, and she plays the role, limited as it is, incredibly well. The cinematography is also quite beautiful, and there are several visual setpieces that looked great (while not really serving much purpose to the plot) It's definitely something worth watching on the big screen, but I probably won't put it on for a second time.
  • This is really, really good.

    (opens a can of wasps)I'm always struck by the sky-high ratings on IMDb for bad LGBT movies, and wonder if it's attributable to a) the comparative paucity of these films, meaning that we should celebrate those we get, regardless of their technical or artistic deficiencies (the extension, I suppose, is the tribalistic mindset this engenders, in which you can't judge them as bad films, as they're not just films); b) my lack of insight into what these films should be doing in relation to their audience and LGBT issues in 2017.(/can of wasps)

    Anyway, no such ruminations necessary on this one, it's bloody brilliant: a dazzling, poetic, sometimes dream-like Chilean film about a trans woman (Daniela Vega) trying to hold it together – and reach some point of resolution – after the death of her boyfriend. I should mention that his family aren't helping.

    Vega has the most fascinating face and the camera makes the most of it, not least in a dazzling nightclub sequence that moves from pain to sensuality to a fantasy dance number, but there's such depth to her characterisation too, and the film's refusal to give her easy, sassy victories is uniquely satisfying, grappling profoundly and humanely with issues that are both specific and universal.

    The effect is of a Dardennes story adapted by Almodovar, but I haven't seen anyone like Vega before. I'm not sure she can really sing classical (the best use of 'Ombra mai fu' is now and forever in Humphrey Jennings' seismic short film, Spare Time, Handel fans), but the rest of the music's a treat, with British composer Matthew Herbert delivering an audial dreamscape that like the script, photography and performances serves to conjure a very particular mood.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The story is not bad at all though somewhat odd. A middle aged man and a transgender woman much younger than him fall in love with each other and even plan to live together. However during a night when they were in bed together he falls suddebly ill and ends up by dying in hospital. This pulls her down heavily and besides that she has to face the aggressive hostility of his family that tries to force her to keep away from everything related to him and even not to attend his funeral. This atmosphere creates a series of ugly incidentes some of them shown in a bit confused scenes some real some imaginary. A movie that can be seen although not too enthusiastically.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Una mujer fantástica (A Fantastic Woman in English), is director Sebastián Lelio's Academy Award nominated entry for the Best Foreign Language Film from Chile. It stars Daniela Vega as Marina Vidal, a transgender waitress who has recently moved into an apartment with her boyfriend Orlando, a textile business owner, thirty years her senior.

    The film begins grippingly as Orlando suddenly collapses in the bedroom after some lovemaking and is rushed to the hospital by Marina. There he expires from an aneurysm. What will happen to Marina? At first, with a pulsing electronic rock film score, A Fantastic Woman feels almost like a film noir as Marina becomes the subject of a police investigation into Orlando's death.

    But instead of finding out more about Marina and what makes her tick, the film's scenarists are content to present her as a heroine, courageously fending off those who ostracize her due to the deep prejudice against transgender people in contemporary society (in this case Chile).

    In addition to being harassed by the police, Orlando's ex-wife will not allow Marina to attend his wake or funeral and Orlando's brother wants her out of his apartment immediately. The brother has also dognapped Diabla, a German Shepherd whom Marina has bonded with during her relationship with Orlando.

    The harassment reaches its apex when the brother kidnaps Marina and drives her around as his anti-gay pals tape her mouth shut with duct tape. Fortunately she's released by the thugs and eventually is able to get Diabla back (we don't actually see how but Orlando's other brother, Gabo, appears a tad bit more sympathetic and may have helped her).

    One keeps asking where is this all going and there is a mystery of some of Orlando's keys connected to a locker at a sauna which the deceased businessman used to go to. Perhaps it's those missing misplaced vacation tickets of Orlando's which we find out about at the beginning of the narrative-but unfortunately no, those are what you might call a pseudo-MacGuffin. Marina ends up finding (SUPER SPOILERS AHEAD) nothing in the locker!

    Lelio's mistake is to put Marina up on a pedestal as a symbol of victimhood for transgender people as well as making her into that (previously alluded) courageous heroine. We find out next to nothing about her background (except for some brief interactions with her sister and brother-in-law) and it's clear Lelio doesn't know how to turn her into a complex character. Had he done that, then perhaps she would have some bad characteristics mixed in with the good.

    While Lelio nobly offers up an impressive and atmospheric visual palette, stands up for all transgender people and in doing so, creates a welcome plea for tolerance, it's simply not enough to craft a requisite compelling protagonist.
  • The LGBT themes of this movie are a backstory to Marina's real, profound grief over the death of her lover, Orlando; as his ex wife, son, and brother strip her of Orlando's possessions of value. This film is so deeply tragic and relate-able to anyone who has lost a loved one.
  • Marina Vidal (Daniela Vega) is a transgender woman and aspiring singer in her twenties and living in Santiago, Chile. After the death of her lover, a man in his fifties with an ex-wife and an adult son, Marina is left alone in dealing with her grief and the aftermath of the death.

    In addition to the burden of grief, Marina must also deal with humiliating and prejudicial situations around her transgender status. She subtly shows an attitude of "I hate having to go through this again but I can." Interestingly, her transgender status is used to her advantage in a later scene in the film.

    Vega is in nearly every scene of the film and must carry it on her shoulders. She does the job superbly. She ably conveys awkwardness and vulnerability as her character attempts to maintain what is rightfully hers while being aware that many battles may not be won.

    Much of the film follows Marina as she journeys through the city's urban atmosphere to numb her pain. The last quarter of the film takes a different twist that is less interesting than what precedes it. But "A Fantastic Woman" is a good film overall mainly due to the subtle skills of its lead performer.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I was excited to watch this movie, but unfortunately, I was disappointed. A few scenes seemed forced and not believable which ultimately ruined it for me. 1. Why would Marina leave her boyfriend alone outside and go back in the room when she clearly saw he was sick? 2. Why was she acting all mysteriously and not answering the questions of the detective clearly? That could have saved her from the trouble of having to show her naked body to the detectives. And many more... The acting was good, though
  • Somber, bleak and unrelenting, "A Fantastic Woman" is a very moving portrait of Marina, a transgender woman, who must deal with all the hatred and intolerance from society when her lover dies suddenly. This film depicts a reality which cannot be ignored. It delivers punches to the gut opening our eyes to the urgency of not special, but equal rights. Marina demands she be treated with decency and respect as a human. She seeks no special rights or anything else than what she believes is owed to her as a grieving woman who just lost her loved one. The films is urgent and poses many questions to the viewer to ponder. You can't help to think about the actions you would take facing the grim choices Marina has to deal with. She is constantly stripped from her dignity in the midst of grieving. But her sense of hope is palpable. She will not let anyone get in the way of her having that last moment she needs to say goodbye. This film really keeps you choked up for many reasons simultaneously until the very end when you feel somewhat a sense of vindication for Marina. An outstanding piece of cinematic art worthy of the praise and accolades it has received. Here rooting for "A Fantastic Woman" to capture that Best Foreign Language Oscar, and hoping this film will bring attention to the bleak reality many transgender people must deal with.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A Chilean woman's old-enough-to-be-her-father lover dies suddenly. She has trouble with his hostile family, who wants her out ASAP, and bars her from the funeral. When she tries to attend a function, she is ejected and roughed up. Meanwhile, a female detective is worried about her being abused, while a male police officer insists on addressing her by her legal, male name.

    From the TIFF Q+A, the director had spent time doing research to create a transgender story. However, while the elements are new to Chile, they have been explored already in North American films. He further gave me a problem by casting his chief consultant, a post-op trans woman, in the role that clearly calls for a man or pre-op trans, as she is repeatedly referred to (directly or indirectly) as "a man in a dress". The are a couple of scenes where she appears topless with definitely female breasts. Recommended only for those in "the choir" of the trans cause, or who are more willing and able to suspend disbelief than myself.
  • Director Sebastián Lelio gives too much attention to how his film is shot which is why A Fantastic Woman is a sight for sore eyes but an altogether boring film. A young lady finds her life turned upside down after her beau, a guy much older than her, suddenly passes away. The film takes one through her journey as she mourns his death and simultaneously tries to prevent herself from slipping into insanity. It deals with issues of feelings of loss, transsexuality, and desolation. While all that are clear except for the sexuality angle, A Fantastic Woman moves with a slow pace and indulges in itself for quite some time, giving bulbs of ennui to its restless audience. Despite that, the presentation of how the LGBT section is considered by the other groups earns some brownie points. It cannot, however, be the sole reason for me to appreciate the film. The commonplace story has shades of freshness, thanks to the Chilean setup, but the central character seems to be taking the directions from Lelio a bit too seriously. Daniela Vega puts up a wooden face through the 100 minutes of running time, making the film all the more uninteresting. The film does enough to present the tragedy of its characters, but the slow pace wreaks havoc to the whole experience. As mentioned before, it has some great photography throughout, which saved me from dozing off, but this is not an art show. Sometime in the second act, I even though there was a thrilling criminal arc in the film, courtesy the sauna parlor, but I was disappointed. With an ambient score that complements the screenplay, A Fantastic Woman can be best described as a film that has power but is just boring. TN.
  • I don't always check out Academy Award nominated foreign films unless they really grab my attention (nothing personal, just time constraints with what I watch). A Fantastic Woman recently opened in the city and I decided to check it out. Didn't know a whole lot going in but I was excited nonetheless. After viewing the film I'll say while its not perfect and seems to get lost at stages as it goes along its still an effort that speaks towards today's issues and a film with a fine central performance from a newcomer.

    The film is about a transgender woman who recently experiences the loss of her lover after he experiences his seizure. She is not able to grieve and attend the funeral properly because his family are embarrassed by her (because she's transgender) and even resort to verbally and physically attacking her. The film also shows how difficult her life is as she tries to find peace and solace in the death of her lover. The film was submitted from Chile.

    Daniela Vega is very impressive for a newcomer. Her performance is powerful. She has to stand up against oppression and is unnerved as she does it. She's quite a great and complex character and has to carry the film. A Fantastic Woman is a thin work otherwise. Its interesting because it touches on discrimination against LGBTQ, which is still a problem in the world today. I do feel like the film builds very slowly throughout and doesn't quite achieve its potential.

    The film is actually fairly safe compared to other films that deal with discrimination and hate. Other's might feel more positive about the film than I do. Daniela Vega has a future and will likely be in other foreign (or even local) work. I do have a mind to check out some of the other foreign nominees this year but I might just in the end check out the winner instead. Who knows, could be this one.

  • Knowing a little of the story before hand I was not holding great hopes for this evening's cinema excursion. However, I was most pleasantly surprised from the opening music which lead us the steamy interior of the sauna where slowly, in the background, naked bodies could be seen imerging from the low lit darkness. Indeed one of the beauties of the film is the wonderful camera work. The shot in the elevator was worth the price of the ticket alone. Daniela Varga is a great actress and has to hold the audience's attention as she appears in almost every scene. She certainly held me in the palm of her hand and I had difficulty not taking my eyes off her. Daniela further exploited her talents by doing her own singing. The acting was superb from all the supporting cast but it was Daniela's film, with the help of Sebastian Lelio, of course.
  • "A Fantastic Woman" is Chile's submission to the Academy Awards for the category of Best Foreign Film. The film tells the story of a transgender woman, Marina, who is suddenly cast into a state of mourning after her older boyfriend Orlando died suddenly and unexpectedly. She must confront and come to terms with Orlando's immediate and extended family members as well, who are just as shocked by the tragic loss as she is but generally unaccepting of her gender identity.

    Sebastian Lelio delivers a well-directed film that makes good usage of simple but exquisite technical and editing tactics. The acting in the film is quite strong throughout, and the script is also well-written. Daniela Varga's lead performance is excellent, as she portrays Marina with a genuine sense of melancholy. She is able to enable the audience to feel a deep-seated, full-throated sense of empathy as well--one which we can only wish the characters she interacts with during the film's duration could have towards her in return. The tone on display in the film is somber and very bleak, but distinctly and genuinely rooted in reality. Such tone is supported--and exacerbated (in a good way)--by the simple score and aesthetic qualities we see. The chronology of the film's narrative is rather bizarre, as is the juxtaposition of some scenes and brief interludes. Otherwise, this is a generally well-made film. 7/10
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I walked out halfway, when the fantastic woman was cornered by a policewoman and a male doctor who was curious to see what she looked like with her clothes off. This movie is a waste of time. It is like a badly written novel of ideas. It made me want to see Kiss of the Spiderwoman again.
  • I had expected 'The Square' to win the foreign language Oscar, and I had hoped 'On Body and Soul' would take home the award. I was wrong. Instead of the urgency of the former or the poetry of the latter, the jury chose the delicacy of 'Una Mujer Fantástica'.

    Probably, the choice has been as much inspired by the subject of the film as by the cinematographic quality of it. 'Una Mujer Fantástica' is a plea for mutual understanding, tolerance and kindness. And at the same time a condemnation of bigotry, prejudice and brutality. It can't be seen without having to think about the wave of intolerance against all kinds of minorities currently sweeping western societies.

    The fantastic woman who has given the film its title, is Marina Vidal, a woman in her twenties who is dating a businessman about twice her age. In spite of the age difference, they seem to be happy with each other. But it's not so much the age difference that is remarkable. Marina is a woman who has been a man before.

    In the first part of the film, this is not an issue at all. It's only after her lover suddenly dies, that Marina's gender becomes something peculiar. The medical staff, the police and, above all, her lover's relatives treat her with utmost distrust and suspicion. They won't even let her grieve, or attend the funeral.

    The film shows how Marina suffers from the way she is treated, and how she refuses to give in. She remains her proud self, and in the end gets what she wants: a decent goodbye to her deceased lover. The film doesn't fall into the trap of making the whole thing too sentimental. The director registers the events, with a certain amount of compassion, but without making a tearjerker of it.

    This is not a groundbreaking movie. But 'Una Mujer Fantástica' is without any doubt a well-written, well-directed and well-acted drama, with an underlying message that's hard not to agree with.
  • A Fantastic Woman (Spanish: Una mujer fantástica), is a Tour-De-Force in all senses. Firstly, Daniela Vega (a proud trans woman herself) delivers the most moving performance of the year. Secondly, Writer-Director Sebastián Lelio makes a harrowing, arresting film about the difference between being 'human' & 'inhuman'. This Chilean Drama is a pure spell-binder!

    'A Fantastic Woman' Synopsis: Marina (Daniela Vega), a waitress who moonlights as a nightclub singer, faces discrimination & humiliation by the family of her boyfriend, after he unexpectedly dies.

    The Trans Community is a big part of our Community & they deserve equal respect & opportunity in our society. SADLY, however, not everyone in this World has the sensitivity or the heart to accept one has they are or who they choose to be. And 'A Fantastic Woman' is a tale of this harrowing & despicable act of others inflicted on a Trans Woman, who faces discrimination & is called the most deplorable things, just for being who she is. Its NOT an easy watch, because its literally what it is & how this needs to stop, no matter who you are.

    Sebastián Lelio is a talented & brave man, who's intelligent enough to deliver a thought- provoking film, but never forgets to also make it a compelling drama. While we all know where the film is headed, its always engaging to see Marina battle her life with such courage. She isn't a weak woman, she's a brave soul, who faces the discrimination & never forgets her rights as a human being. Lelio & Gonzalo Maza's Screenplay is brilliant, no two options on that! Engrossing, Disturbing & Challenging, the Writing is top-notch at all times & delvers a strong, strong impact! Lelio's Direction is superb. He's handled this dramatic film with force. Benjamín Echazarreta's Cinematography is perfect. Soledad Salfate's Editing is crisp. Art & Costume Design are good.

    Performance-Wise: Daniela Vega is truly remarkable as Marina. And I really hope she creates history by winning many accolades around the world for her stupendous performance her, opening a gate for the Trans community in film & beyond. Vega is affecting & courageous all through. There isn't a single false note in her portrayal. Undoubtedly, among the best performances of the year! Of the supporting cast, Francisco Reyes Morandé is wonderful in a cameo & Aline Küppenheim is first-rate.

    On the whole, 'A Fantastic Woman' is indeed, FANTASTIC. Don't Miss It For The World.
  • jesus-iturbe5 February 2018
    Warning: Spoilers
    Boring film... Interesting and important subject but not wisely developed and approached by its director. The worst part? The scene when the relatives of Marina's late lover kidnapped her and finally left her on an alley with her face covered with masking tape... How could this movie win Best Screenplay in Berlin? Lobby and money behind this and other cinema festivals and awards?
  • I watched this film basically because it won the Oscar to the best foreign picture. Found out that the film was another one to many, picturing evident transgender cliches and slow situations that end up in a very boring linear movie, without montages and cheap incidental music. Seems to me Oscar is giving away their prizes in a very convenient way.
  • Sooooo one dimensional story and characters. Waiting all the time for something to happen, and guess what? Nothing happens. Such a waste of time.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I was excited to watch the Best Foreign Film Oscar winner of this year. Being in the company of such transcendental movies in past winners, I was sure that "A Fantastic Woman" was going to be up to the challenge. What a disappointment it has been to watch this movie. This type of story has been told successfully in so many other movies in the past, that I don´t really understand why this particular one was even nominated for an Oscar; what a rip off for the other nominees. Other than the character being a transgender woman, this movie does not portray anything new that a lover who is rejected by her partner's family has experienced in so many past stories. The only thing clear in the movie is that Chile is a country living in the 12th century. The pace of the storytelling is slow, the script is at times completely unbelievable, and the story keeps trying to surprise us but at the end nothing important happens; every reaction is completely predictable. The last scene is the best the movie has to offer, where the main character shows that there is life after death. I want my time back. I do not recommend this movie unless you belong to the transgender community.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Seen at the Berlinale 2017, where it was part of the official Golden Bear Competition. Orlando and Marina are a couple who are living together in Orlando's apartment, not married yet but clearly in the mood for making future plans together. Two things make Orlando's ex-wife and children unhappy, one of which is their age difference of 20 years. Another and more prevalent issue is that Marina underwent a sex change operation recently. That process is not yet finished, obvious for a knowing observer. Apart from that, Marina is still a man formally, as her ID-card shows. When Orlando suddenly and unexplainedly dies, things take a bad turn for Marina. The police gets involved, and a persistent detective chases Marina and is not prepared to let go easily.

    Orlando's family, a diverse mixture of personalities, takes a lot of trouble to make Marina uneasy. Explanations for their attitude are diverse. It can either be just pestering her out of the way, in any case out of the apartment, as a starting point to make clear that Marina has no rights in the legal sense. Either that, or they rather have nothing to do with her anymore, because of her sexual identify confuses them. Finally, more down to earth, they may assume that Orlando was planning to marry Marina, thereby reducing the inheritance they were possibly counting on.

    A gripping story develops from above ingredients. There were a few details that escaped me, however. (*** spoilers ahead ***) For example, there is a locker key that we see many times, which purpose is withheld until one of the final scenes. Nevertheless, we get not even a glance at what was behind the related door, hence unclear what Marina's subsequent and sudden decision was all about. A second example of missing details are the frequent apparent appearances of Orlando, usually in near-dark places (like a dancing), something that gradually led me to believe that his death was a cover-up to give him a new identity. Later, however, nothing came about that such was the case. So we are led to assume that Marina hallucinated these appearances. Did it became a fact when we saw that Marina witnesses his body being shoved in the furnace of a crematorium, a scene that confused me completely, so I was lost here again.

    All in all, despite some unresolved issues, the story keeps its drive from begin to end. No minute of the running time is wasted. Very good performances overall. This movie won the Silver Bear for best screenplay, awarded by the Berlinale 2017 International Jury. The LGBT elements are not too prevalent, but help to introduce some extra plot pieces that take good care of leaving unclear what is really happening, just what a good thriller needs.
  • kushina318 February 2018
    This is such a powerful movie.

    From the first few minutes, you are completely one with the character, you can feel her pain and her strength, and you cannot stay indifferent to what is happening.

    I would recommend it to anyone, even to those that are not very trans-comfortable, because the movie is very honest and true, very human, and a chance to change everything they think they feel and know.

    The technical side of the movie is phenomenal, the acting also, so I don't have anything else to add.
  • I mean I totally stand for the LGBT rights and I always defend them as much as possible, but come on guys our agenda should not control us that much, our ideology must not lead our judgement. I have seen all the nominated foreign movies of this year, and this BY FAR THE WORST!!..Totally boring, pointless, poorly done, horrible performances by everybody, dumb dialogues..EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS MOVIE IS JUST BAD!!..Yes the LGBT community is a prosecuted community and we all should advocate for their rights, but that does not mean getting an Oscar to a terribly terrible movie just because it is about them!! COME ON!!
  • I watched this film yesterday, with high expectations because of the trailer and I came out very disappointed. The story is too simple and lineal, I couldn't empathize with the main character never, despite the very long scenes showing the expressionless face of the main character. It was a very tedious movie to watch. I think that the lack of a good and interesting script was to blame for the lack of things to film and direct. The story was only about the poor transsexual woman who nobody wants. I thought it was going to be something different and that the topic of the trans sexuality was going to be anything else than the victimization. Of course I get that she or he was fantastic because she / he moved on with her/his life. His/her performance was pretty stiff also. The only good thing I can recognize is the beautiful photography and art direction.
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