Fear, ignorance and grief can't keep a good woman down in Sebastián Lelio's Berlinale best screenplay and Teddy winner.
Turning galvanising portraits of marginalised women into his own niche, Lelio returns with another beguiling character study after MIFF 2013's Gloria. A waitress by day and singer by night, Marina has a happy future in her sights with her older boyfriend Orlando. Then tragedy strikes, sparking a fierce confrontation with Orlando's family, who refuse to acknowledge Marina's place in his life.
In a feature produced by the always excellent Fabula (No, MIFF 2012) and Komplizen Film (Toni Erdmann, MIFF 2016), Lelio delivers a nuanced and moving account of a vital fight for love, acceptance, and respect. However, A Fantastic Woman belongs to its determined, defiant titular character and the stunning performance at its centre, with all-round fantastic transgender actress Daniela Vega making one of the most memorable and formidable movie debuts in recent history.
'Perhaps the most resonant and empathetic screen testament to the everyday obstacles of transgender existence since Kimberly Peirce's Boys Don't Cry.' – Variety