Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Review - XXY

A mother and a father move away from Buenos Aires to coastal shoreline of Uruguay to seclude themselves and their fifeteen year old teenager, who has a secret. The mother decides to contact a doctor and invites his family from Buenos Aries to visit and meet their child, Alex. Alvaro, the sixteen year old son of the visiting doctor, begins to develop a ambiguous relationship with Alex and soon realizes that the two are attracted to each other. Their attraction for eachother is tested when Alvaro, finds out Alex is a hermaphrodite, and forces both families to confront the touchy issue.

XXY is written and directed by first time director Lucia Puenzo, and has all the right pieces to make an intruging, provocative, and heart warming tale about Alex and her difficult sexual identity. This movie really nails all aspects of the film in a unquie fashion with the utmost sincerity and emotion. I loved this movie, and it really was a remarkable and touching look into a world I had never even speculated about. What really makes this film, is the way Puenzo handles the awkward situtations throughout Alex's puberity. This film is a endearing coming-of-age story instead of a medical review of his or her different sexuality. XXY is a gripping tale that handles every aspect of the story with daring compassion which, in the end, really makes for a masterful film.

Ines Efron plays Alex and gives a performance that is not easily to be forgotten. She plays this awkward role perfectly and has recieved three nominations and two wins for Best Actress, in her outstanding portrayal of the fifeteen year old teen. Watching the different hormones both male and female tendencies come out in Alex is both astonishing and compelling. The ability of Efron to give such a dynamic performance and show so many different personalities of Alex allowed the viewer to become completely absorbed into her character. Each one of Alex's different personas or identities the viewer also begins to struggle and identify with, while watching Alex cope as well. This gives the film so much of its heart and really does make the viewer feel the struggle that Alex and her family are managing through. Ines Efron throughout XXY, did such a fantastic job of conveying true emotion and real frustration within the context of a very difficult scenario. She is an actress, I will keep me eye on for sure.

Ricardo Darin who plays Kraken, Alex's father is also riveting and flawless in his performance as the confused father. Darin excels at conveying a real sense of the fatherly figure in Alex's sensitive situation. As the father, he wants what is best for his daughter, no matter what her decision is. He wants to make her happy and feel comfortable. His largest dilema throughout XXY is his desire to keep Alex's situation secret, while still making Alex feel that she is normal and not a freak. His relationship with his wife is also equally compelling. His wife, Suli, played by Valeria Bertuccelli believes that plastic surgery might be the best option for Alex, but her father is not so sure that one sexual identity within Alex will ever dominate. The entire family dynamic that is developed throughout the film is amazing. The inter-family relationships between father and daughter, mother and daughter, and mother and father are done with the utmost sensitivity and perfection that the viewer once again really feels the conflict.

Alex's relationship with Alvaro, played by Martin Piroyansky adds a whole new angle to the film which really contributes to the overall compassion of XXY. Alvaro and Alex are both are attracted to eachother, but not in the traditional means of male and female. Alex's male traits begin to come out around Alvaro and this makes for some awkward dialogue and situations between the two. Ultimately forcing the two of them, to deal with their sexual identities in a way they may have not been ready to face yet. Like the rest of XXY, the provocative subject is dealt with real humanity while still being suggestive and remaining appropriate. This is much to the credit of the acting and the writing throughout. Every level of this film is done so well, it is sure to remain in my Top 10 list of 2008. In every way, I love this movie.

Finally, XXY is an amazing story that has so much unexpected heart and sensitivity it was truely inspiring. To see a film, that could develop such a complex situation and handle it with absolute perfection really ignites what I have always loved about film. The ability to tell a story so well. The ability to really draw the viewer into the characters and their stories. Lucia Puenzo did just that and then some in XXY. Her writing and direction flawlessly tell the diffiuclt tale of Alex and give the viewer a well-rounded view of a very complex character. XXY was released in the US back in May and releases on DVD in October. Make sure you see this benevolent film, you wont be disappointed.