XXY (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner07/05/2008

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 86 mins

Impressively directed, emotionally engaging drama with a stunning central performance from Ines Efron.

What's it all about?
Ines Efron stars as Alex, a 15-year-old hermaphrodite whose parents (Valeria Bertuccelli and Ricardo Darin from Nine Queens) have dealt with her condition by exiling the family to a remote island. However, now that Alex is approaching adulthood she's being pressured to decide whether she wants to live as a man or a woman.

Intending to force a decision, Alex's mother invites some friends (German Palacios and Carolina Pelleritti) from Argentina to stay with them, one of whom just happens to be a surgeon who specialises in gender reassignment surgery. They also bring their teenage son Alvaro (Martin Piroyansky), who doesn't know anything about Alex's condition but soon finds out the hard way.

The Good
The winner of the 2007 Critics Week Grand Prize at Cannes, XXY is superbly directed by Lucia Puenzo and beautifully shot. Puenzo handles the material with a sure hand, treating the issue sensitively, yet unafraid to take a few left turns along the way – as a result, there are some delightfully unexpected scenes.

Puenzo also gets terrific performances from her excellent cast: Ines Efron, in particular, is stunning as the fiercely individualistic Alex, while Martin Piroyansky has an amusing line in gormless charm. Ricardo Darin is as excellent as always and there's strong support from both Valeria Bertucelli and German Palacios.

The Bad
That said, there is a weird fish imagery thing running through the film (Darin's character is actually named Kraken, for example), which doesn't work at all, perhaps because the finer subtleties of it are lost in translation. Similarly, the climactic sequence of the film lacks a certain something, so to speak, which slightly lessens its impact.

Worth seeing?
In short, XXY is a beautifully made, superbly acted drama that packs a powerfully emotional punch and delivers a passionate message about acceptance. Highly recommended and well worth seeking out, despite its limited release.

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Content updated: 23/09/2018 01:36

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