Follow TV Tropes


Film / A Fantastic Woman

Go To

Una mujer fantástica (A Fantastic Woman) is a 2017 film by Sebastián Lelio (who also made Gloria) that was awarded the Oscar for best foreign-language film in 2018.

Marina is a transgender woman whose much older partner, Orlando, quickly dies of natural causes. Through the rest of the movie she has to deal with the police, who still suspect foul play, as well as with Orlando's family, who are less than accepting of his last romance and want to negate Marina's common law rights regarding him.

It became particularly well known for having a transgender actress in the lead role, the highly-acclaimed Daniela Vega.


Fantastic tropes:

  • Alliterative Name: Orlando Onetto.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Marina can pull this off when she wants to, and it's how she can enter the male section of the public baths and no-one takes notice.
  • Bathtub Scene: Marina has one closer to the end.
  • Berserk Button: Marina becomes noticeably angry whenever anyone brings up her gender in conversation. Though this mostly manifests as Tranquil Fury. Obviously, as a completely naturalized and happy transgender woman, this is justified.
  • Concert Climax: In the last scene, Marina enters the stage with a small orchestra and starts singing. Then cue credits.
  • Death Glare: Marina rarely loses her composure, but she does have a withering glare for anyone who has earned her contempt.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Marina jumps onto the roof of a car that Bruno and other relatives of Orlando are in, scaring the crap out of them. This happens shortly after she was harassed by Bruno and his buddies and can be considered retaliation for that.
  • Advertisement:
  • Downer Beginning: Orlando dies almost straightaway, but humorously only after there's been some death scares.
  • Female Gaze: Invoked, as the female police inspector requires Marina to show her naked body. What the viewer sees is the reaction of the police inspector (as well as that of the male photographer).
  • Gratuitous Disco Sequence: Marina goes to a gay club at one point and has a one night stand, seemingly irrelevant to the plot and characterization.
  • Hand-or-Object Underwear: When Marina takes a bath her private parts are covered by a mirror that she's holding, so instead of genitals, the reflection of her face in the mirror is shown.
  • Happily Married: Marina and Orlando... but of course it doesn't last.
  • Happy Ending: It is implied that Marina overcomes the death of her partner, and finds success as a singer.
  • Hate Sink: Bruno, the only major character who is openly bigoted and goes out of his way to be as cruel to Marina as humanly possible. Even Sonia is willing to leave Marina be as long as she leaves her family alone, and clearly mostly resents Marina simply for taking Orlando away from her.
  • Hidden Depths: it is only 1 hour into the film that one learns that Marina is an aspiring singer who studies vocal with a professor.
  • Idiot Ball: Why does Marina leave an ailing Orlando alone next to a staircase?
  • Insistent Appellation: Marina. Bruno calls her "Marisa" twice, and she impatiently corrects him.
  • May–December Romance: The age difference for the characters of Marina and Orlando, made a specific plot point when Orlando's family basically think she's a gold-digger who gave up waiting (the actors are 35 years apart).
  • Mood Whiplash: The scene where Marina is kidnapped by the son of her deceased lover and his two accomplices. They rough her up and throw her out into the street. The film is not at all violent anywhere else.
  • Noble Bigot with a Badge: Detective Cortes. She talks down to Marina and patronizes her because of her gender identity, but once it becomes clear that there was no foul play on Marina's part, she lets her go without any problems.
  • One-Hour Work Week: Marina is a waitress, being briefly shown working on two occasions; both times something distracts her from waiting tables. Of course, her job in this film is not much of a plot point.
  • Red Herring: The keyring with the number 181 which is shown several times in the first half of the film proves to be from the locker in the public baths, but the locker is empty.
  • Self-Deprecation: When Marina is getting her nails done she complains that her hands look like an orangutan's.
  • Staircase Tumble: Orlando, who is very ill, is left by Marina near the staircase. He tumbles toward the stairs, reaches the stairs and falls down. It is implied that it does not harm him much as he dies soon after by another cause.
  • Sheet of Glass: Subverted. Marina is walking down the street as a sheet of glass is being unloaded from a truck: she appraises her reflection, and the glass is simply carried away.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • A rather gratuitous example. Marina is in hurry and gets into a taxi that is already occupied. She tells him to get out, and he replies that he is in a hurry. Then Marina deadpans that she is also in a hurry and the man obediently leaves.
    • Also when Marina jumps on the roof of a car that has three of Orlando's family members in it (including Bruno, who earlier let his two friends bully her). The people in the car get frightened and abandon it.
  • White Sheep: Orlando's brother is the only member of his family that treats Marina with any level of decency.

Alternative Title(s): Una Mujer Fantastica