OUTFEST 2008 Film Review - XXY

                 

Alex (Ines Efron) is a typical 15-year- old. She’s a bit angry, a bit rebellious, a bit sullen. But basically, Alex is a good girl. She leads a simple life, growing up in a small fishing community on the coast of Uruguay. She lives with her parents Kraken (Ricardo Darin) and Suli (Valeria Bertuccelli), who chose quiet anonymity of small town life over the aggressive, intrusive city. The main reason the Biologist has moved his family to this small town is because of Alex’s secret.

The secret is also the reason that the family has visitors, Suli’s friend Erika (Carolina Pelleritti), her surgeon husband Ramiro (German Palacios) and their teenaged son Alvaro (Martin Piroyansky). The problem with Alex is that she is not just a girl; she is also a boy. And as she enters her late teens, she must decide with gender she will live as for the rest f her life. The problem for Alex is that she does not want to give up either.

When you don't fit in anywhere...

Even though she has been raised as a girl, Alex begins to gravitated towards the power and physical yearnings of a man. At the same time, she is sick of the daily pill-popping ritual required to keep her male hormones at bay. While her doting father will honor any decision she makes, there is no question that she must soon decide. Aside from puberty which trying to force Alex’s body to biologically define itself; Alex has made the mistake of telling her secret and Pandora’s box is now open.

Ines Efron & Ricardo Darin in "XXY"

XXY (entitled for the chromosome assignment for hermaphrodites) is a very small story with far reaching emotions. Alex’s dilemma informs every decision the family has made. Suli has asked her friend to visit in hopes that Alex can be “transitioned” by a skilled physician. Kraken’s painfully passive approach is to continue to insist that Alex is not a freak, coupled with his unconditional acceptance of his child; even as the outside world threatens to dismantled all personal pride Alex has clung to until this point.

Martin Piroyansky & Ines Efron in "XXY"

This is a lovely film with beautifully understated performances by the entire cast. This is not a story that requires arm-waving or fanfare; it is extremely powerful in its clean simplicity of the storytelling and through a wonderfully complex performance of leading actress Ines Efron. First time filmmaker Lucia Puenzo adapts the short short by Sergio Bizzio ("Cinismo") with a judicious hand, carving distinct characters from the varying points of view. XXY is a fresh voice and a testament to the bravery it takes to be different in this world.

XXY is part of the International Dramatic Program of OUTFest 2008 happening now through July 21st at the Director’s Guild, the Beverly Fairfax, and other surrounding area theaters.

 

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