A Fantastic Woman – 26 April 2019

Sebastián Lelio’s Oscar-nominated film A Fantastic Woman is a sublime study in the exalted ordeal of grief. It is also as gripping as any procedural crime thriller, and cops and police doctors do play a role. I went into a kind of alert trance watching this – in tandem with the heroine’s own weightless alienation and shock. When the screen went dark prior to running the final credits, I assumed for an instant that some small initial section had come to a close. In fact, an hour and three quarters had gone by.

It is a wonderful performance from the 28-year-old trans actor Daniela Vega: passionate, intelligent and with a certain understated dignity. She is rarely absent from the screen and Lelio’s camera seems always to be catching her character in the act of transcending loneliness, heroically defusing the internal opera of pain, rising above the thousand petty little indignities and hostilities that the world now wishes to add to the ordinary agony of her bereavement.

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian. Full review…

Critic reviews

Sexuality and gender identity issues are front and center in this impressive, heartfelt film, blending seamlessly with the universal themes of dignity, bigotry, and loss. Full review…
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media

A Fantastic Woman is at once a straightforward story of self-assertion and defiance and a complex study of the nuances of identity. Full review…
A.O. Scott, The NYTimes

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