Film Name: A Fantastic Woman
Genre: Social Issues
Director: Sebastian Lelio
Actors: Daniela Vega, Francisco Reyes
Rating: 4.5 Star
Review: The emotional journey
“A Fantastic Woman” is a Chilean Drama Film which was released in 2017 and got a theatrical release in India (with English Subtitles) being distributed by Impact Films this week. The film has been written by Sebastian Lelio and Gonzalo Maza, directed by Sebastian Lelio and distributed by Sony Pictures Entertainment. The film stars Daniela Vega and Francisco Reyes. It is a film based on social issues.
The plot of the film explores a romantic relation between an old man Orlando Ornetto (played by Francisco Reyes) and a transgender woman Marina (played by Daniela Vega) and what happens to Daniela’s life when Orlando dies a sudden death due to brain aneurysm.
The film explores various social angles like,
- The social acceptance of transgenders.
- What happens to those in unconventional romantic relationships and to the people around them when the relationship ceases to exist due to uncontrolled events?
- How people express their dissatisfaction of social notions not generally accepted?
- The role that assumptions and presumptions play in our daily life.
- Love, symbolism and the natural right to grieve the loss of a loved one.
- How social notions restrict the above rights?
- How people use relationships as a trophies of social statuses?
- How people cast the manifestations of their emotional possessions on material artefacts?
- A question about how life would have been in an ever-accepting society?
- The doubts that linger over men even after their death…
It is a good attempt at unconventional storytelling and making unforeseen cinema. The story is emotionally touching and it makes you feel for Marina’s character and her struggles in a world that refuses to accept her the way she is, to exist in a society that does not respect her love and care for a man who loved her and cared for her.
Probably some more emphasis should have been laid on how the relationship between Marina and Orlando developed, but that is again a writer’s choice. However, in my opinion, the film would have been cherished better if it was explored.
The film stresses on the importance to move on in life and the struggle one goes through due to the sudden loss of a loved one, especially when the people around you, do not recognize the relationship as socially legit and you do not get to grieve the loss also properly.
It is a good attempt at the spreading the message of acceptance and encompassing the lesser prevalent forms of relationship and sexuality.
The scene where the detective forces Marina to recount the dreadful night of Orlando’s death, which Marina has shut down mentally and emotionally, merely because the detective feels that Orlando might have forced himself on to Marina prior to his death, talks great about the assumptions and presumptions, we as a society, have about men, relationships and sexuality. The angle has been explored subtly.
In the age of methodical, formulaic and the ever typical revenge, drama and thriller movies that come, this movie is unique relief. From a cinematic perspective, the film establishes its premise and precinct right from the beginning, within the first 10 minutes and the rest is the emotional journey mired with social reflections.
I would have rated this movie as 5 star but only for the fact that I felt, the relationship between Orlando and Marina should have been explored more, but as I said, it’s a personal opinion.
About Author –
Virag Dhulia is an independent short film maker, a registered screenwriter and a novelist.