Marina (Vega) is a transgender woman who lives with her older lover Orlando (Reyes). One night, Orlando suffers an aneurism and dies at the hospital. Marina is met with suspicion by the hospital staff and the detective who comes to investigate the death. Orlando’s ex-wife Sonia (Kuppenheim) and his family treat Marina with disdain, kicking her out of his apartment and forbidding her to attend the funeral. With all this rejection and hostility, how will she go about rebuilding her life, and her self-esteem?
Lelio’s wrenching drama is strikingly topical yet avoids overt polemics, instead choosing to focus intently on Marina and her grief. Vega, a first time actress who was initially hired just to consult on the film, delivers a groundbreaking performance, expressing Marina’s quiet resilience as well as her fragility. Winner of the Foreign Language Film Oscar, Lelio’s work stuns with its original use of music, visual compositions and tender flights of fancy. Its title is no over-promise; this “Fantastic Woman” must be seen and heard.