A Fantastic Woman (Una mujer fantastica) 1.0 stars

Fantastic Woman (Una mujer fantastica) movie poster

A pre-op transsexual’s (Daniele Vega) word begins caving in after the death of her divorced, much-older boyfriend, mostly because it gives his largely intolerant family the opportunity to make her life miserable. Vega’s performance is riveting, but writer and co-director Sebastián Leilo’s use of sex and gender to shape his narrative is straight out of a ‘50s melodrama. There’s even a quotidian subplot involving a mysterious key that just happens to show up every time the pacing needs a swift kick in the ass. The plethora of tracking shots following a character from behind may be intended as a tribute to Gus Van Sant, but they’re wasted here. And short of dropping bricks on our heads, it’s hard to imagine anything as painfully, thuddingly obvious as having Aretha Franklin’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” playing at a car wash. I’m shocked that anything this hackneyed could come from the same filmmaker who gave us Gloria. Now there was a fantastic woman! 2017.

Scott Marks

This movie is not currently in theaters.

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