NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Movies: "A Fantastic Woman:" Maintaining Dignity and Self Respect in a Hostile World

Sebastian Lelio's film, "A Fantastic Woman," which has been nominated for the Academy Awards Best Foreign Film category, is about a transwoman, Marina (wonderfully portrayed by Daniela Vega) and her perseverance in maintaining her dignity and demanding respect as a human being, despite the grief of losing her romantic partner and dealing with prejudice and harassment.

Movies: "A Fantastic Woman:" Maintaining Dignity and Self Respect Despite a Hostile World 
Marina and her boyfriend, Orlando (portrayed by Fernando Reyes) live together in Orlando's apartment in Santiago, Chile.  They are a happy, loving couple who are kind and generous to each other.  But one night Orlando gets sick suddenly and Marina takes him to the hospital.

Within a couple of hours, Orlando dies from a brain aneurysm.  Alone with no one to console her at that point, Marina deals with the shock and grief on her own.

Since she fears losing her job as a waitress if she does not show up, she goes to work that day and acts as if nothing happened while her heart is breaking.

She also has to deal with close-minded hospital staff, abusive police officers and Orlando's emotionally and physically aggressive relatives who don't understand why Orlando, who was married before and has a young child, was with a transwoman.

We don't learn a lot about Marina's personal history or much about her family background, except that she has a sister and brother in law who take her in after Orlando's family kicks her out of Orlando's apartment after his death.

We do learn that she has not received her identification card yet indicating that she is a woman so, as far as the outside world is concerned, she is a man.

She is also subject to humiliating and degrading acts by the police who, ostensibly, want to "help" her in case she was abused in her relationship with Orlando (despite the fact that she tells them that she was not abused).

The one bright spot in her life is her love of music and singing.  And, despite all the obstacles that are thrown in her way, Marina perseveres.

Marina grieves for Orlando, but she also knows that life goes on, and she is committed to persevering with her singing career as well as do what she can to make ends meet financially.  She will survive and thrive on her own terms.

Ultimately, A Fantastic Woman is an inspiring movie due to Marina's resilience and uncompromising demand for respect as a human being--even if people don't understand her.

It's wonderful, for a change, to see a movie about a transwoman triumphs.

If you haven't seen this movie, it's well worth seeing for the acting, wonderful plot, and inspiration.

About Me
I am a licensed New York City psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist (see my article: The Therapeutic Benefits of Integrative Psychotherapy).

I work with individual adults and couples.

One of my specialties is working with LGBTQ clients.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.

The LGBT Center in New York City
National Center For Transgender Equality
Transgender Law Center
Gender Proud