A Fantastic Woman Analysis

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In Sebastian Lelio's Oscar-nominated A Fantastic Woman, a girlfriend is continually shunned, barred, and forbidden from grieving over the sudden death of her boyfriend. His surviving family do everything they can to push the woman away and insist, then demand, that she not come to the funeral and never speak to the family again. If this seems rash, we soon learn why. A Fantastic Woman tells the story of Marina Vidal (Daniela Vega), a lounge/jazz singer by night, and waitress by day, who has just moved in with Orlando (NAME). Despite a significant age disparity, the couple are very much in love and at a celebratory birthday dinner for Marina, Orlando has just arranged for a Brazilian birthday trip. Life is good. After a romantic evening at…show more content…
Would the hospital offer the same care and protections were it Marina admitted to the emergency room? Moments like this are just a few of the probing, insightful observations that Lelio makes with his new film. Powered by a stunning, debut, breakout performance from Vega, A Fantastic Woman is compelling cinema, with important optics and significance in not only the annals of LGBTQ cinema, but also in advancing representation. Perhaps more importantly, Vega is woven into the tapestry of a unique and intriguing drama, a script co-authored by Lelio and Gonzalo Maza that looks at the complexity of familial fracture, misunderstandings, and how we sacrifice and grow when touched by love. The film is also rather unpredictable in how it injects symbolism, musical sequences, and an almost dream-like haze in the lensing of D.P. Benjamin Echazarreta. The use of a clever song score brings smiles and sorrow and standing in the storm of Lelio's vision is a luminous performance from…show more content…
Lelio plays things a little too cute at times and the screenplay struggles to give agency to Orlando's family. Though they are cruel at times, and deplorable in their actions, we are left to fill in the blanks. That's easy enough to do: Save one kind-hearted brother, Orlando's family doesn't understand how someone could be transgender, they see Marina as something broken or a person mentally ill, they refuse to try and understand how and why Orlando could fall in love with someone like that. And though the film never explores those knee-jerk recoils beyond surface-level cliche, Marina clearly deserves so much more. Among the final moments in A Fantastic Woman, we see Marina elevate, improbably high in the air, her eyes fixed on the camera and staring right at us. A confident smile tells us that Marina will not be rejected any longer, well on her way to becoming a most fantastic woman

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