A FANTASTIC WOMAN (UNA MUJER FANTÁSTICA) (2017) by Sebastián Lelio
“My name is Marina Vidal, do you have any problem with that?”
Over all the footage of “A fantastic woman (Una mujer fantástica)” it gives the sensation of being in front of a thesis film, those films conceived to serve as staging by means of images of an idea proposed by his director, in which everything that the viewer perceives, in background and form, is subject to what you want to demonstrate. This doesn’t have to be something that is detrimental to the result, but in the case of the new film by the Chilean Sebastián Lelio, it does give the impression that the final packaging of “A fantastic woman” suffers after to sustain, in a somewhat repetitive manner, an idea that it is necessary to put on the table again and again.
With the exception of a couple of initial scenes in which the only character in the frame is Orlando (Francisco Reyes), middle age divorced who has a quiet routine at work and in the sauna where he will relax, the film is based on the presence – magnetic and powerful – of Marina (Daniela Vega), who appears for the first time interpreting the salsa song “Tu amor es un ayer de ayer” by Héctor Lavoe (in a fully “almodovarian” moment), from then on stay in each plane of the footage.
What follows is going to be a sample of the continuous vexations (implicit and increasingly explicit) to which Marina is subjected because of her condition as a transsexual in a supposedly First World society that shows an apparent tolerance but has a dangerously essence originated by ignorance, prejudice and lack of empathy towards others. The police’s continued suspicions about Marina’s involvement in a death, the unnecessary as humiliating visit to the doctor to be “inspected” and especially the intolerant reaction of her lover’s family are the stones in the way of this forced woman to endure a double discrimination (for being a woman and transsexual) that she faces with (maybe almost too much) integrity.
Despite, as we said before, of the need to denounce these behaviors in our society (also in a supposedly bourgeois and educated stratum as Lelio portrays with intelligence), “A fantastic woman” is lost in the reiteration of situations that, once the empathy of the audience has been achieved, they seem too forced and explicit. And it is that it doesn’t seem necessary to insist again and again on the same idea and rejoice in the suffering of others, even though the presence of a splendid Daniela Vega makes us share, for a moment, her longings for freedom.
Traducido por: Eduardo Llorente.
Our rating: (3/5)