Film Review: Una Mujer Fantastica | A Fantastic Woman

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – 5/5.

Author: Feargal Agard | Runtime: 104 min. | Director: Sebastián Lelio | Year: 2017.

What a fantastic film! I absolutely loved how the main character took on every new developing situation in her life. It was a display of self-control, determination and strength. This film truly tells the story of a fantastic woman.

Una Mujer Fantastica | A Fantastic Woman portrays the story of Marina Vidal (Daniela Vega), a young trans woman who works as a waitress by day and as a nightclub singer at night. She is in a relationship with her much older boyfriend, Orlando (Francisco Reyes), but then he suddenly dies. Marina is struck with sadness, but also doesn’t know what to do. She is forced to face all the difficulties that come with this particular situation. Her boyfriend’s ex-wife, grown-up children and family cause tremendous trouble by threatening her and attacking her all because she is a trans woman. As if that wasn’t bad enough she also has to deal with the local police authorities who investigate her about her boyfriend’s death. It is precisely a situation that would drive any person crazy. Will she survive?

Una Mujer Fantastica was directed by Sebastián Lelio and the screenplay was written by Gonzalo Maza. The film was released at the Berlin International film festival and it displays the loss of a loved one. This can happen to anyone, but what if society throws their assumptions onto her because she is a trans woman? Suspecting a trans woman to be the one who might have killed the deceased person. Without considering that they truly loved each other. That is the kind of film this is. It thematically addresses the love between a older guy and a trans woman and how society cannot understand their love. Instead society sees something abnormal or either the stereotypical news article story where a trans woman was physically abused and attacked her abuser and killed him. The film stars Daniela Vega, Francisco Reyes, Luis Gnecco and Aline Kuppenheim.

Daniela Vega has a very particular style of acting. She is so composed, calm and collected, but the look in her eyes allows you a glimpse of the turmoil within. It is a display of very believable acting, because it also makes you curious to stay engaged to find out how things will end up. For some reason she never really lost her cool. It is obvious that the love she and her boyfriend had for one another is the only thing that she can think of. Every outside force that wants to stand in between her love and her boyfriend is nothing to her. Finally, Vega’s character appears to be an unstoppable force of nature, because of her determination.

The cinematography is beautiful, very genuine and –without wanting to demean the cinematography in any way– it was also a bit conventional. The soft imagery portrayed Daniela Vega in a beautiful way. The lighting was something that they sometimes experiment with to create a soft feel or a colorful display that shines on the face of the main character. In my opinion it was maybe an aesthetic representation of the warmth in her and the love that she has for her boyfriend. While the tone of the film was never really that dark or sad. It rather showed strength and determination. Aesthetically it was most noteworthy to see the mise-en-scene, the setting and compositions of the shots. Therefore I find Una Mujer Fantastica to be a very prepossessing film.

In conclusion, Una Mujer Fantastica | A Fantastic Woman discusses and issue that happens in the lives of some trans women. It gives us a glimpse into their world and issues that aren’t even necessary. They are human beings too so they deserve every bit of respect that other people deserve as well. I would love to recommend this film to any curious mind who wants to understand why such women are so fantastic.

In Dutch theatres as from the 31st of august 2017.

Genre: Drama | Language: Spanish | Dutch Distributor: September Film Distribution.

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