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Film / XXY

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A Spanish language film about Alex, an intersex teenager, coming to terms with her sexuality and existence and the effect it has on her family. Female pronouns are used in this entry for Alex as the movie consistently uses female pronouns and adjectives (in Spanish, adjectives have gender).

This movie was inspired for "Cinismo" by Sergio Bizzio, but the movie shows much more adaptational LGBT empathy, when the original tale is mainly played for laughs denoted by a narrator who make fun of the protagonist.

Alex and her family live in an isolated island community in Uruguay and Alex lives a girl, her true nature a secret. While her family has raised her a girl, Alex is ambiguous about her gender and if anything seems to want to live as a boy. It's enough that she has secretly stopped taking her estrogen pills. Alex's mother invites a surgeon friend and his family to visit. Neither Alex nor her more supportive father know that he is visiting to discuss the possibilities of a sex-change operation. Alex and the surgeon's teenage son Álvaro form a bond and have anal sex, with Alex on top. Alex's father witnesses this and is forced to confront his daughter's sexuality.


When boys from the village assault Alex in order to see her genitalia, it becomes Alex's decision whether to press charges. If she does, everyone will find out who (and what) she is.

The subplot of the movie involves Alex's new friend Álvaro, who also seems to be struggling with his sexuality, especially after discovering that he loved being penetrated during sex.

This film provides examples of:

  • Ambiguous Gender: Alex. Lots of other characters really want to know, boy or girl?
  • Ambiguous Gender Identity: Alex's parents and other adults at least encourage Alex to choose a gender identity. Alex, instead, just wants to be herself and stay in a liminal identity space.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Alex, who has explicit attraction to both male and female friends. Not so ambiguous, though, as she outright says she doesn't know if she prefers one or the other. Alex's female friend, specifically, has slept with her male cousin and tries to come on to Alex.
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  • Ambiguously Gay: Álvaro. Any discussions of the film spend at least some time on Álvaro's clearly confused sexuality.
  • The Atoner: Vando, presumably Alex's ex boyfriend, who she told about being intersex and who it's implied shared this news. He later saves her from the boys trying to see if it's true and helps comfort her.
  • Body Motifs: The recurring 'cutting off a finger imagery', first when Álvaro is explaining that his father the plastic surgeon does more than boobs and noses, then when Alex's mother accidentally cuts her finger when slicing carrots and Álvaro's mother says that they can still give Alex the sex-surgery (despite nobody really wanting that). Works better in the original Spanish, where the word for finger can also mean penis.
  • Coming-of-Age Story: It is significant that Alex is 15 — in Latin American culture she'd have a quinceañera to symbolize becoming a woman, which is what happens at 15. Instead, though, she is becoming a man.
  • Creepy Child: If we're going by Alex's drawings and what she's done to her dolls.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: The subject of Alex and Álvaro's first blunt conversation.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Male on Male:
    • Though Alex does try to apologize for basically anally raping Álvaro, he says it's totally fine and it's treated as such in the movie. In the scene, they had been already having consensual foreplay, which helps diminish it.
    • When the group of boys grabs Alex on the beach, it is subverted, though it could be said that they did view her as female, as well as being violent, in a group, and having very bad intentions.
  • Hermaphrodite: Alex, seemingly in the classical sense rather than the medical sense, as the boys who assault her comment that she has both sets of genitalia fully intact, which is extremely rare for real-life intersex children.
  • Homophobic Hate Crime: After it is let slip by an ex that Alex is intersex, a group of local boys decide to see if this is true by stalking and then attacking her on the beach. After performing an Outfit-Rip Sex Check one throws her against a rock, and appear as if they are going to continue before being discovered and shouted off.
  • Kissing Cousins: Alex's friend who slept with her cousin... five times.
  • Outfit-Rip Sex Check: A gang of boys does this to Alex on the beach.
  • Papa Wolf: Alex's father is definitely this, going to any lengths to protect and defend her from violence and prejudice.
  • Real Is Gray: Rural Uruguay is a very...grey place.
  • Transgender Fetishization: The characters and even the viewer seem to be encouraged to Gaze at, and encouraged to want to look at, Alex's body. One of the boys at the beach gets really excited at Alex having both male and female genitalia, and Alex asks Álvaro if he regrets not seeing her or not seeing it. The camera also really likes to nicely frame Alex's nude or semi-nude body.