Here I confess to being hamstrung by a reviewer’s dilemma. This beautifully crafted and justly Oscar-nominated Chilean film benefits from not knowing too much about the story before you walk in.
A major shock occurs after the first ten minutes, and only gradually does the truth of the “fantastic woman” whose story then takes over emerge and we start to figure out why many of the people around her have been treating her so abrasively. So if you prefer, do not read further, just see the film.
For other readers, I will reveal a little more – but hopefully without giving too much away. The opening minutes delineate a loving relationship between 57-year-old Orlando and his significantly younger lover, a nightclub singer and waitress named Marina. Just as they’re looking forward to taking a trip together to the spectacular Iguazu Falls, he takes a fall of his own and dies from a brain aneurysm.At this point Marina’s life takes centre stage and we start to realise she has a lot more interesting back story than we initially might...