Director: Lucía Puenzo | 91 minutes | drama | Actors: Ricardo Darín, Valeria Bertuccelli, Germán Palacios, Carolina Pelleritti, Martín Piroyansky, Inés Efron, Guillermo Angelelli, César Troncoso, Jean Pierre Reguerraz, Ailín Salas, Luciano Nóbile, Lucas Escariz
You are born as a man or as a woman. That choice is already made for you when you are born. Fortunately, this is often the right choice, except for a few. The brains are already tuned to being a woman or being a man and you live your life as it comes. But what if you have the choice? What if you are both and can choose whether you want to be a man or a woman?
A film about someone who was born ambiguous, or hermaphrodite, is unique. A daring theme that no one has dared before. It is a topic that certainly provokes discussion and that is the goal achieved with “XXY”. It turned out to be a beautiful film, not too many side roads, not too much hassle, emotionally gripping but not too much, after all, the subject is already intense enough.
Alex is raised as a girl by her parents. She also looks like a girl and talks like a girl. Yet she carries a great secret. No one knows that she also carries the male gender with her except her parents. Now that she is entering puberty, she is expected to make a choice. She feels different, strange, like a monster, and she behaves a bit rebellious. One day when her mother invites a well-known surgeon with his family, something seems to blossom between Alex and the son, Alvaro. But if she wants it to be something between them, she will have to tell the truth and make a choice. But is Alex ready for that?
There are some questionable elements in the story. For example, the doctor’s arrival is quite dubious. Why would a doctor spend a while with people he barely knows when he’s not even sure Alex will become a patient of his? And the sex scene also comes at a bit of a strange time and is too intense for two teenagers of fifteen years old who hardly know each other. It is also unfortunate that Alex’s character is not explored further because her feelings are perhaps the most interesting about the whole story. That is not due to Inés Efron, who performs her role in a fantastic way, but to the script. Alex is an adolescent girl who doesn’t trust many people. When she tells her best friend her secret, she is betrayed and humiliated by him. Then she also gets feelings for Alvaro which makes it all even more complicated. The director has chosen to let Alex say as little as possible and especially by making her actions and facial expressions clear to the viewer how she feels. Very clever that Inés Efron can do that, but it would have been better if it had gone into more detail.
What is really beautiful is the blossoming love and the questions that it raises. Would she rather be a boy? But how is it possible that she falls in love with a boy? Is she a girl after all? Or can she be both? And does he reciprocate her feelings?
Don’t expect a Hollywood ending with this movie. The story does not lend itself to that either. This is a serious topic that can be discussed after seeing this film. For example, has it been wise for the parents to postpone the choice at birth and leave it to Alex himself? The goal is reached. People have been shaken up on this topic and discussions are bound to explode. And perhaps more, perhaps better films will follow on this subject. In any case, the beginning has been made and that start is certainly not bad.