★★★★★ | A Fantastic Woman

Daniela Vega gives an award-worthy performance in the Chilean film A Fantastic Woman. Vega’s performance as a woman who, after the death of her lover, is rejected and scorned by his family that is superb.

You see, Vega is transgender, and her character Marina Vidal, who happens to be an aspiring singer, is also, of course, transgender. She and her lover Orlando (Francisco Reyes) had a regular relationship, but his ex-wife and son never truly accepted her nor her relationship with Francesco. But after a birthday celebration where they shared a romantic dinner, a sexy dance in a club, and a night of passion at home, Francisco starts having problems breathing, and after a tense drive to the hospital, Francesco dies, and in panic and a state of confusion, Marina walks away from the hospital. But after a police car picks her up and takes her back to the hospital, she realises that she’s being treated as a suspect in Francesco’s death and not as a grieving partner. To make matter much much worse, Francesco’s grown up son wants her out of Francesco’s apartment, and his ex-wife wants his car and explicitly tells Marina, to her face, that their relationship was perverted and not normal. It’s too much for anyone to take, but Marina is strong, and she will do anything to attend Francesco’s funeral, even when Francesco’s family tries to keep her way. Marina loved Francesco and wants to say a final goodbye.

There’s no doubt about Vega’s performance. We feel her pain, and her anger, and her confusion over the series of events that have happened in her life in a short period of time. Vega is a revelation, and she should’ve been nominated for a Best Actress Oscar, nevertheless she’s been nominated for a slew of other awards, and has won Best Actress at the Palm Spring International Film Festival, while the film, written and directed by Sebastiån Lelio, won the prestigious Teddy Award at the Berlin International Film Festival. ‘A Fantastic Woman’ is really fantastic, one of the best films of the year, and Vega’s performance will most definitely move you.

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A Fantastic Woman is now playing.