Marina struggles to deal with the loss of her beloved, but she takes the situation head on, looking to the future. Unfortunately for her, this future arrives in the form of Orlando’s trans-phobic family, all of who refuse to accept Orlando’s love of Marina. She’s shunned out and bullied, her grief further frustrated by the fact that nobody’s letting her embrace it. Marina begins on a personal voyage to inner peace, reflecting on the life she once had and the general public’s inability to accept that way she is.
Her journey is personal and emotional, and Vega gives the performance of a lifetime. She’s so subtle and nuanced, with brief fleeting moments of genuine anger bursting out. It’s a story told simply, effectively and with as few words as necessary, able to convey its meanings through silence. A lot of sequences rely solely on Vega’s brilliance and her underlying implications. She’s flung into situations she clearly doesn’t want to be in, but Vega tackles it head-on, and while the more degrading scenes are often uncomfortable to watch, the craftsmanship and the performances make this a film certainly worth your time.
I can’t quite find who said it, so to this person I apologise, but I read a quote recently that goes along the lines of “give the audience a few memorable moments and they’ll go home happy.” (Again, paraphrasing here). A Fantastic Woman, however, has more than a few, ranging from jumping on cars to surrealist dance numbers. Not everything feels relevant to the actual plot, especially a fierce scene of brutality that then evolves into a strange sticky-tape related assault, but when the credits rolled, I was beyond satisfied with what I’d just seen. Sometimes, titles don’t lie. A Fantastic Woman is truly fantastic.
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