A Fantastic Woman
Una mujer fantástica
Panorama | Special Presentations
From the director who gave us Gloria, a smash hit at VIFF 13, comes this life-affirming gem. Sebastian Lelio’s film features Daniela Vega in a stunning performance as Marina, a trans woman of proud bearing. As the film begins, she and Orlando (Francisco Reyes) are a happy couple. She’s a part-time singer in her 20s; he’s a divorced executive in his 50s. His sudden death is a terrible blow, but the aftermath is even worse: faced with flagrant disrespect, first from the authorities and then from his surviving family, Marina finds herself having to fight for the basic recognition most of us take for granted.
By turns joyous and heart-wrenching, A Fantastic Woman is dynamite drama. LGBTQ visibility has increased dramatically in recent years, and the movies are responding. This one has huge popular appeal, but it bears no trace of commercial compromise and, in a refreshing contrast to Hollywood practice, its protagonist is played by an actual trans performer. Marina is a heroine for our times: a victim of cruel conservatism but a triumphant figure nonetheless. Compassionate, courageous and lovingly made, this is a movie that will reach out and touch you.
"Ravishing… represents a huge leap in terms of trans narratives onscreen, but by any standard, it’s a powerful drama of a woman whose suffering never dims her determination to keep moving forward."—David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter
Best Screenplay, Berlin 17