A Fantastic Woman Screen 79 of 6 reviews

A Fantastic Woman

2017

A Fantastic Woman Poster
  • The film is dead simple in its visual execution, except for some symbolic flourishes that will either jar with you or make you feel there’s a mysterious resonance you can’t quite pinpoint... But it was the most accomplished mainstream film in competition at this year’s Berlinale, and as Marina, transgender performer Daniela Vega gave one of the most fascinating performances to be seen here, shifting moods... from shot to shot with mercurial fluidity. Fantástica, for sure.

  • There are moments of outright fantasy, the most striking of which is a Buster Keaton-like image of Marina walking down a windy street. But like Lelio’s breakthrough film, Gloria, A Fantastic Woman is at its most compelling as a conventional character study of an unconventional female lead. Plotting is not its strong suit; it gets repetitive and washy in later stretches. But that’s also (sort of) the point.

  • There are clumsy elements in A Fantastic Woman, such as the name of Marina’s late boyfriend (a nod to Virginia Woolf’s androgynous heroine), or a scene in which Aretha Franklin’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” happens to play on the radio. Lelio’s film isn’t perfect, but through Vega’s presence, it does its best to give full cinematic agency to a woman traditionally marginalized.

  • Transgender actress Daniela Vega turns in a remarkable performance which will no doubt receive accolades, and rightly so. But after a scintillating opening stanza, Lelio’s film loses steam in its second half.

  • A remarkable level of perceptiveness distinguishes most of the script, particularly the dialogues... Lelio’s approach is not without faux pas, however. Particularly problematic are several instances that encourage the viewer to guess whether Marina has transitioned or not.

  • Seems to me a few critics are going a little overboard in their enthusiasm for A Fantastic Woman, Sebastián Lelio’s undeniably solid followup to Gloria (2013)... The pace of A Fantastic Woman is not slow, but it is deliberate, as if Marina were on a long march toward reconciliation with her new life without Orlando. Also, I’m no expert by any means, but from the opening credits through to the final performance, I was enthralled by the score and the sound mix overall.

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