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January 18, 2009

XXY

by Franz Patrick


XXY (2007)
★★★★ / ★★★★

I’ve heard of Klinefelter’s Syndrome in several Biology courses but I’ve never seen a film that focuses on the condition. Inés Efron does a great job as Alex who has not yet made a decision whether to continue as a female or get an operation to become a male, but has recently decided to stop taking pills which contain hormones that aim to retain her femininity. Her parents invite a doctor and his family; things get complicated when Alex meets Alvaro (Martín Piroyansky). Since this is the first film I saw about XXY Syndrome, I was surprised by its mature sensitivity. During several points in the film, just when I thought it was going to take the Lifetime route, it completely turns to a different, more daring direction. I don’t know if I felt pity or sympathy for Alex (maybe it’s understanding) but I wanted to scream for her. Every time I look in her eyes, I feel like she desperately wants to escape but couldn’t. She tries to love her body but she’s always reminded by others that she’s different so she constantly reevaluates herself. Even though she has supportive parents and some supportive friends, some strangers are so cruel to her to the point where I wanted to jump into the movie and fight for her. Her relationship with Alvaro is so fragile but I feel like they reach some sort of understanding. Whenever they’d interact, they feed off each other’s differences to the point where they reach some sort of comfort around one another. Toward the end of the picture, we get to learn more about Alvaro and his need for approval from his father. That confrontation scene before they left Alex’ beach house felt like a punch in the stomach to me. It was so honest but painful, yet it was also beautiful and a relief. The use of color and tone of this film reflected the characters and I absolutely loved looking at it; it’s almost like poetry but composed of images instead of words. I must also commend this film’s focus because each scene has something to do with the big picture. I love films like this because even though it’s emotionally exhausting, it feels so rewarding because we feel that much more knowledgeable about something we didn’t know much about. If you’re a fan of the blurring between two extremes, such as gender and sexuality, this film receives a very enthusiastic recommendation from me.

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