XXY (a/k/a "XXy", 2007, 85 minutes, in VERY bad Spanish with subtitles) is perhaps one of the most disgusting films I have ever seen, precisely because it pretends to deal with a true and painful subject: it deals with a hermaphrodite teen. It addresses a few items about the subject but is generally just plain awful. It's a pretentious, arrogant and nearly impossible-to-follow piece of Eurotrash even if they do say it is from Argentina.
The victim of the day here is beautiful young Mexican actress Inés Efron who plays Alex, a hermaphrodite who seems to have been raised as a girl by her parents. Though her father lovingly accepts Alex's true physical condition, it appears he struggles a bit with Alex's psychology--well, who wouldn't?! The title is mostly a symbol.
However, if I may: XXY, a/k/a Klinefelter's Syndrome, is a type of hermaphroditism. What is typically seen is a male who has very small testicles and insufficient hormones to carry him all the way to "normal" malehood. The result is a male child, but a child suffering from female characteristics that can be painful, dangerous and even life-threatening (they have breasts and usually get breast cancer). One extremely interesting characteristic is XXY kids tend to be much taller than their peers, and this is usually due to abnormally long legs.
My old review had a loud complaint posted about Alex's "issue" that is being swept under the rug--and I was insulted just for pointing out what the movie tells us up-front. In an ugly 'rape' scene (I call this 'non-sexual rape') Alex is forcibly undressed in order to see if the rumors are true. What the boys see after they have attacked and brutalized Alex goes beyond the rumors.
So what the hell issue is THAT? Is it not hermaphroditism?--they SAY SO in the film! Alex's father states Alex was born a hermaphrodite and that's not a euphemism for "gay"! This isn't about your average gay teen, and THAT is the whole point of this movie. Alex's father defends and accepts her.
The rest of this film is so distasteful that I will leave it up to you to decide. I find it far too intense and frankly a bit dishonest to recommend it at all--and I definitely would not recommend it for kids. All I can do to ease this attitude is to praise them for making a film about a true physical medical hermaphrodite--surely a way to get everyone's attention.
However, these issues need to be approached with respect, as educational issues and not in the way this film does it, with exploitation.
Since I devoted my 23-year ministry to fight for the rights of all transgender people, the gay community, and everyone else who falls on the spectrum, from bisexual to true hermaphrodite, I will not dignify this film with anything other than this review and a strong warning. It was a disrespectful approach to a horrid set of problems this world suffers--but we need to really understand those who are really suffering.
I can't fathom this representing Argentina at the Oscars for Best Foreign Film--and that should be a big red flag for film buffs. What this does tell us is the entire subject requires a good, well-directed film on the subject. I am truly sorry for those review-readers out there who can't read well enough to understand what this review is trying to say.
Two stars, one for the young actors and one for trying.