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I'm not sure why the product description refers to adolescent transsexuality because the films is about intersexuality, specifically XXY (Klinefelter's Syndrome). A very touching piece of work. I felt the director did a good job presenting a very emotion filled story with a good cast of characters. I would highly recommend it!
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
A Life Determining Conflict: Who Am I?Oct. 27 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
The chromosomal abnormality of XXY has been labeled as Klinefelter's Syndrome, hermaphroditism, and Intersex. The 'conception' defect results in a child with both male and female organs and when detected at birth usually results in a decision between physicians and parents to surgically alter the child to be one or the other phenotypic assignments - male or female. In this remarkably sensitive film based on a short story 'Cinismo' by Sergio Bizzio and adapted for the screen by writer/director Lucía Puenzo, XXY becomes a story of understanding and acceptance of a diagnosis by both child and parents and the conflicts such gender variation can present.
Alex (Inés Efron) is the XXY patient of the story, having been raised on the isolated coastline of Uruguay as a girl with the aid of supplemental hormones until age 15, the age when her loving Argentinean parents Kraken (Ricardo Darín) and Suli (Valeria Bertuccelli) have decided she should have her 'offending member' removed, allowing her to become a completely phenotypic female. Alex is deeply conflicted about her situation, refuses to take her medications and enjoys being 'one of the boys' in secret. When Alex's parents invite their surgeon friend Ramiro (Germán Palacios) and his wife Erika (Carolina Pelleritti) to their home to advise them on the surgical alternatives, they are accompanied by their artistic son Alvaro (Martín Piroyansky). There is an attraction between Alex and Alvaro and this ultimately results in a crisis that results in the coming of age and self-acceptance of both youngsters. Lucía Puenzo and her fine cast sensitively explore the interaction between parents and children and the coming to grips with choice of identity. This is yet another challenging and rewarding film from Argentina, one that stands alone as a fine movie, but one that also would be wise to add to the film libraries of high school and college students and of patient resource facilities who deal with problems of gender identity. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, October 08
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
'Why do I have to choose?'Oct. 8 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
15 year old Alex (Inés Efron) was born intersex; she resembles a female (and takes hormones to enhance this), but has male genitals. As she has grown older, her parents moved her from her home in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to an isolated fishing village on the coast of Uruguay, to avoid the questions of friends and relatives. Her mother is desperate for her to become wholly female, and invites a plastic surgeon (along with his wife and son) to their village to discuss surgical options. The son, Alvaro (Martin Piroyansky), is questioning his own sexuality...which becomes all the more confused as he and Alex grow attracted to one another.
XXY (Spanish, English subtitles) deals with age-old themes (social stigma, parental conflict, societal demands for sexual conformity) in a refreshing context. What does it mean to be 'male' or 'female'? Is the pressure to choose one gender or another innate, or socially-enforced? Are the neuroses that young people suffer wholly attributable to parental desire for social orthodoxy? A post-op female-to-male acquaintance of Alex's father advises: "Making her afraid of her body is the worst thing you can do to a child"...(oddly reminiscent of Van Dijk's classic quote: "Sexuality is something granted to everyone, and to teach a child to abstain from this evident intimacy is perhaps the first form of sexual violence to which it is subjected"). XXY does not seek to resolve these (perhaps unresolvable) questions, but does an excellent job of casting light onto such neglected areas of social life.
The acting is remarkable for what must have been challenging roles; completely natural and unselfconscious. The lead characters do a superb job of conveying (frequently through body language and eye movement) the turmoil that they undergo, but credit also to an exceptional supporting cast, including the powerful performance of Ricardo Darín in the role of Alex's father. The camera work and lighting combine with these other aspects to result in a moody, poignant and most memorable film. Highly recommended.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Making choices when there is no choiceSept. 26 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
Being adolescent is hard enough. This film touches up on much more complex issues. What can parents do to help their child choose his/her sex when that child has both? When a person is born with both sexual organs, most parents decide the sex of the child shortly after birth. But Alex's parents felt that is should be their child who should decide their sex. Alex is raised as a girl. But puberty is bringing some hard decision for Alex, her friends and family. Shall Alex remain a girl and have an operation to remove her other organ? This would be easier to answer is Alex knew her sexual preference. She feels she is a boy but there is a fragility in her that is very obvious. There is a moment in a film that I found heartbreaking. Alex sits with her closest friends: high school girlfriend who is sexually active,intrigued and not frightened about Alex's body; Alex's best friend from the local schoool who was stunned to discover that Alex is not just an ordinary girl. Alex's accidental lover, a slightly older boy who discovers after being with Alex that he is really gay - to the shock of his own parents. The bravest decision Alex can make is to acknowledge publicly what she is, not have any surgeries and let time show on who her live partner will be as the time goes by when she can sort out her own emotions. This film is like no other film I have seen so far. It will get you thinking about how complex human sexuality and our emotions really are.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Your film is HONESTOct. 2 2009
A. S. W.
- Published on Amazon.com
A letter to Lucía Puenzo:
Dear Lucia, thank you for your amazing film XXY. I just finished watching it on DVD and I am truly moved not only by your artistry and confidence in filmmaking but also by the subject you so sensitively depict. You created an immense emotional human drama from a taboo subject.
Fortunately social norms are in constant change, but we are still living with so many stigmatized topics from the past, and films like yours bring a great contribution to slowly but surely erase society's negative behavior about unusual or dissimilar people. We are all human beings made of the same stuff.
Your film is HONEST. You succeeded to create a non-exploitive wonderful film encouraging us to be sensitive to each other, understand and enjoy the diversity this noble nature is offering. The major characters in your film are interesting, different and talented, young Alex and Alvaro are convincing and touching.
I will cherish this film for a long, long time to come. I will recommend to all my friends and eagerly waiting for your next creation. You are a talented artist.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Bold and UncompromisingFeb. 12 2010
Dayna Newman/Slasher Diva
- Published on Amazon.com
I have just finished watching this amazing film . I was amazed that they didn't shy away from or tip toe around any of the issues,it was clear as day and directly to the point. Unlike many films with content of this nature,meaning sexual ambiguity,Inter Sexism,Transgender issues or anything that strays away from the male or female "norm". Norm or normal not being my words but society's. XXY is heartbreaking and tense in some scenes,Loving and accepting in others.Most of the acceptance comes from her father who thinks she "Alex" is perfect just the way she is and she herself is accepting of who she is so she stops taking the female hormones that will alter her body to be more feminine because she is confused and not sure what gender she really identifies with or maybe she just identifies with both.Something most people do on some levels.This film brought me to tears in several scenes because I understand the pain and weight of the "what if someone finds out factor". The surgeons son that is visiting Alex's family starts hanging out with Alex and she becomes quite sexually aggressive with him straight out of the gate. He shy's away at first,not because of her XXY condition because he is unaware of it even though his father is there to see if all involved will allow an operation to fix Alex's so called handicap. When they do have sex I was shocked at what occurred and that they showed it.I wasn't shocked as in it doesn't happen but as in that they had the guts to actually show the act itself. There is also a very disturbing scene where three boys "older" decide they want to see for themselves what she has as they say "down there".She was so tough and bold throughout the film that when this occurs you finally see how emotionally and physically vulnerable she really is.It's a film that would be entertaining to anyone not just someone close to this issue.I say bravo to the film makers and writers for being so brutally honest,after all this is how it really is.