A Fantastic Woman

Academy Award-winning tale of a transgender woman mourning her lost lover, from Chilean filmmaker Sebastián Lelio (Gloria). Winner of the Screenwriting Award at Berlin.

"A Fantastic Woman is, to put it simply, a fantastic film. It is compassionate portrait of the day-to-day challenges of transgender life, but cast aside any expectations of a tragic outsider wallowing in victimhood. Santiago bar singer Marina Vidal, played by sensational trans actress Daniela Vega in her screen debut, is headstrong, vivacious, confident and beautiful. After her much older lover, Orlando (Francisco Reyes), dies suddenly, Marina wants to grieve just as anyone would. When met with suspicion and prejudice by authorities and Orlando's family, Marina boldly steps forward to expose the banality of intolerance and prove that she is, indeed, a fantastic woman." (Sydney Film Festival)

Trailers

Awards

Best Foreign Language Film, Academy Awards 2018; Winner of the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury - Special Mention, the Silver Berlin Bear for Best Screenplay and the Teddy for Best Feature Film, 2017 Berlin International Film Festival

Directed by

Drama, World Cinema

104mins

Rating: M Mature themes and coarse language

Spanish with English subtitles

Chile, Germany, Spain, USA

In this stirring portrait of grief and resilience, Daniela Vega’s poignant interiority saves a film too caught up in its exterior. Sebastián Lelio’s A Fantastic Woman features Vega as waitress and singer Marina Vidal, a trans woman left grieving after the death of her older boyfriend, Orlando (Francisco Reyes). When Orlando’s family find out about Marina, they forbid her from attending his funeral, compounding the frustration and heartache she is already so tenderly enduring.

The whole film hangs on Vega’s phenomenal control of her expression. A slight turn of her shoulder and a flickering half-blink say more than dialogue ever could. The athleticism of her performance recalls the fine-tuned mannerisms of Rachel McAdams, who tellingly leads Leilo’s next film, Disobedience, his first English language feature.

A Fantastic Woman’s first act is an eloquent introduction to the deep care and desire present in Marina and Orlando’s relationship. In an early scene, Marina drunkenly leans full weight against Orlando’s shoulder, tossing her arm in the air to activate a hallway motion-sensor light. This simple action becomes one of many small gestures made splendid by Vega’s grace.

After Orlando’s death, Marina is again and again confronted by contempt from those around her, ranging in form from lingering stares to outright derision. In one scene, Marina rejects Orlando’s son’s insensitive questions about her genitalia. How unfortunate then, that the strength of Marina’s rejection is quickly undermined by the camera’s invasive preoccupation with her body.

The attempts others make to humiliate Marina are afforded too much consideration and grow exceedingly redundant as the film goes on. However, watching Marina contemplate her reactions in a refusal to be deterred from closure is, in and of itself, utterly fantastic.

Hollywood Reporter

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Ravishing.

Screen International

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Leilo displays a knack for getting under the skin of female characters who, for no fault of their own, find themselves somewhat marginalised by society.

The Guardian (UK)

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It may be a timely film, but it is its timelessness, as well as its depths of compassion, that qualify it as a great one.

Variety (USA)

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Chilean director Sebastián Lelio and star Daniela Vega give the growing bracket of transgender drama a new, luminous touchstone work.

IndieWire (USA)

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While the storytelling grows frustratingly elliptical, Lelio so desperate to constrain the drama that he resorts to removing helpful pieces of it, the scenes that remain are succinct and evocative.

Los Angeles Times

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The most plausible element, the foundation on which the movie rests and finally soars, is Vega's magnetic and meticulously controlled performance.

New York Times

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The title of Sebastián Lelio's new film might seem a bit on the nose. It's a fantastic movie. Daniela Vega, the star, is fantastic in it. Quote me in the ads, with exclamation points if you must. My work here is done.

Sydney Morning Herald

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It's a battle to maintain grace under pressure no matter the indignities that come with it.

FilmInk (Australia)

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A truly remarkable and unfiltered glimpse into a world of experiences that many of us know nothing about.

Stuff.co.nz (Graeme Tuckett)

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Vega smoulders, seethes, and occasionally implodes. It's a piece of work of astonishing, internalised power.