The Chilean film has been called a ‘sublime study of love, loss and the trans experience.’

By Bob Vitale

“A Fantastic Woman,” the Chilean story that won Best Foreign Language Film at last week’s Academy Awards, will be shown starting this weekend in theaters across Ohio. 

The Guardian calls the film a “sublime study of love, loss and the trans experience,” while Variety calls it “the most resonant and empathetic screen testament to the everyday obstacles of transgender existence” since “Boys Don’t Cry.” 

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“A Fantastic Woman” is the story of Marina, a young transgender woman (played by trans actress Daniela Vega) whose lover, Orlando (Francisco Reyes), falls ill and dies on the night of her birthday. 

Instead of being allowed to grieve, she faces indignities and injustice at every turn: from hospital staff who address her as a man, to police who investigate whether she killed Orlando, to her late lover’s family who bar her from the funeral and want to kick her out of her home. 

Vega has been widely praised for her performance as Marina. Variety called her character tough, expressive and subtly anguished, and The New York Times echoed the title in calling her “fantastic.” The actress and opera singer was honored at film festivals from Peru to Palm Springs for her role. 

Francisco Reyes, who plays Orlando in the film, will be in Columbus and take part in a question-and-answer session following a 7 p.m. screening at the Drexel Theatre. “A Fantastic Woman” will play at the following locations in Ohio: 

  • Columbus: Gateway Film Center, 1550 N. High St.,43201; six screenings a day through March 14. AMC Lennox Town Center 24, 777 Kinnear Road, 43212; five screenings a day through March 14. Drexel Theatre, 2254 E. Main St., 43209; at least four screenings a day through March 15. 
  • Akron: The Nightlight, 30 N. High St., 44308; opens on March 16.
  • Cincinnati: Esquire Theatre, 320 Ludlow Ave., 45220; at least four screenings a day through March 15.
  • Cleveland Heights: Cedar Lee Theatre, 2163 Lee Road, 44118; two screenings daily through March 15.
  • Dayton: The Neon, 130 E. 5th St., 45402; opens on March 16.

Bob Vitale
A Toledo native and graduate of Toledo Public Schools, Bob has worked as a local government and politics reporter for The Columbus Dispatch, as a Washington correspondent for Thomson Newspapers and as editor-in-chief for Outlook Ohio. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science from Ball State University and a master's degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield.