It resonates most strongly as a story about who is permitted to grieve. In this way, it resonates with Judith Butler’s work in Precarious Life, which, in a post-9/11 context, probes the ethical question of which lives are liveable and which are razed from the ground of public monument, exploring how mourning, in such a context, is increasingly state-defined.
Lelio’s deployment of fantasy sequences further provides a mode of articulating her state of mind. We watch her physically soar on two occasions: the first battling a windstorm on her way home, her body arching upwards as if walking on air; the second at a nightclub late on in the film, when she floats in the air, leading a choreographed sequence in a magnificent gold and silver tinsel outfit.
These images mean next to nothing if the film itself has no interest in exploring anything other than the superficial aspects of living life as a trans person. A Fantastic Woman repeatedly fails in this regard, focusing on escalating melodrama wherein transphobia becomes more outrageous by the minute, nearly to the point of losing all meaning.
A timely story anchored by a strong, captivating central performance from Daniela Vega who is left battling against several cliched characters that border on caricature. The warbling-mirror scene in particular felt so hammy and unnecessary following the nuance and power of the masking tape. Great score, sublime cinematography and production design. 3.5 stars
Daniela Vega gives a powerhouse emotional performance in this gripping drama about loss and acceptance. The cinematography and music here are incredible as well with echoes of Fassbinder and Almodovar.
It's a good movie about the trans people struggles in a day to day basis and extraordinary ones but, unfortunately, it doesn't really bring anything new to the genre. Visually it's beautiful, it reminded me a bit of Almodovar in some scenes but, in terms of metaphors and symbolism, it's very straight forward and heavy handed, not subtle at all. Daniela Vega was great, though.
Smart money is on this to win the Oscar for Best Foreign Film, but it would be a tepid if noble choice. The wages of a message movie can be steep: Fantastic Woman empathizes with its trans heroine without letting us know her deeply, and the transphobes are thinner still. There are potent scenes that capture the queasy danger faced by the LGBT community, but on the whole its advocacy is larger than its inspiration.
The casting of Daniela Vega truly makes this timely tale authentic, moving and intelligent while married to the excellent scripting by Lelio and Maza. The humiliations and trials that Marina is subjected to when her lover dies are unjust and anger inducing but so true in a society that still shuns at heart the transgender community with an unwillingness to provide empathy or understanding. Kudos.
Digital. Marina / Daniela Vega carries the same facies a whole movie, carrying the film with her, not exactly a complicity between camera and actress but rather a dependency of that one in relation to this one, that already came from "Gloria", but here oversized to the ridiculous final, only possible because the film does not present any cinematographic ideas. Social area, and that's all.
Kudos to the director for casting the amazing Daniela Vega in the leading role instead of a cisgender actor/actress (Hollywood, I'm looking at you!), can't wait to see her during this awards season! The club scene was stellar and so was the gust of wind in the street and all the visions of deceased Orlando. Marina's silences and gestures spoke volumes, what a mesmerising character.
Well, it is possible to make and extremely sleek film that is nonetheless extremely inelegant. Lelio has made a visually impressive film; I sense the influence of Kieślowski (and not just because A FANTASTIC WOMAN is a kinda trans variation on his BLUE). The real problem (considerable) is that Lelio has an embarrassingly heavy hand when it comes to symbol and metaphor. Daniela Vega provides a stoic performance.