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  • XXY
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4.7 out of 5 stars16
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 8 October 2008
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.
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on 19 September 2010
A wonderful insight into the life of a young person struggling to forge a gender identity in a world of judgement:
the teenagers who tease and abuse
the narrow minded small towners who will not accept difference
and worse still, the well meaning do-gooders, who 'know best' how to re-sculpt (mutilate) a body into something 'befitting'

and how not knowing who you are can collide with the lives of those around you who care, challenging all that they held universally true

brilliant, harrowing, uplifting
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on 27 July 2011
From my personal perspective, I found the film gave an alternative story about the parents' choice. Alternatives can always give hope that we are not bound to follow mainstream practices, which in the film, as in most countries, is about having cosmetic surgery to "correct the aberrations", to force one or the other sex upon a child. Not only did I find Alex's story poignant, but her parents' story was powerfully portrayed.
However where I find the title of the film misleading, is that all of the XXY boys and men I know do not have ambiguous genitals. They have male genitals and are recognized as boys at birth. My son has XXY syndrome and finds it distressing to be asked if he is a hermaphrodite. So while the film portrays the difficulty of having a child with an INTERSEX condition, and the difficulty of finding your sexual identity as a person with an INTERSEX condition, I think that the title does not help those who have XXY to confront other people's curiosity and lack of consideration for those who are different.
The film should be entitled differently.
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VINE VOICEon 4 December 2008
When I first saw this film available for rental, I was thinking it was some sort of deformation Alex was suffering, the synopsis was rather bland and not really telling me much about the movie, so I thought why not give it a go?

This film explores the fact that Alex was born a boy but really is a girl, or to give it it's proper term, hermaphrodite. They used to live in Argentina's capital Buenos Ares - but they were bullied out of there due to Alex's condition. Now 15, Alex has to decide what she wants to be, and when a plastic surgeon's son comes along and falls in love with her, the question is, are we really small minded, or is there hope?

To be honest with you, I was quite surprised when I saw this, but it was great to see - Alex (Inés Efron) is amazing - this must have been a tough role to pull off. The shooting locations are perfect too, with the swishing of the sea in the background, and plenty of thinking time between dialogue. The film really does make you question what you would do, and how you would react to the news that your wife has given birth to a hermaphrodite.

I would say though this isn't for everyone, the sex scene with Alvaro and Alex is rather crude but the worst part has to be the part where a local gang are trying to touch Alex - it's uncomfortable viewing at the best.

This film really does leave more questions than answers, this is why I felt I had to review it, and the quality of the script, acting and scene - this for example wouldn't have been as good in a crowded and loud city, but in the quiet parts of the Argentine border this works really well. Also it has had 20 wins, very deserving of them too, as it really questions the base level of life - and how we perceive trans gender and hermaphrodites.

The DVD gives this movie justice, good quality image and a 5.1 DTS audio track - thankfully in the original Latin American Spanish, not an English dub. You get subtitles to guide you through, which sit nicely in the frame and are visible 99.9% of the time. The colours look great and do the landscape justice, and the sound has good dynamics.

There are not many extras on here, a few deleted scenes and an interview with Ines and Martin, which they discuss the themes in the movie and how Argentine cinema is today. There are also drawings the pair made. Shame the director didn't make an interview for this - but that's the way it goes.

This is worth watching, mainly because the inter sexual side of it is mainly used to confront the basic ideas of what sexuality is and what we are and how we behave.
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on 4 November 2013
This film came very close to breaking my heart. It isn't just about teenage hermaphrodite Alex & the struggles she faces but also about her parents & the difficult decisions they had to make just seconds after she was born & continue to have to do so. The cast were outstanding. Ines Efron as Alex was utterly captivating. It can't have been an easy role to play but she pulled it off beautifully & I felt as if I could really connect with her.
A raw & at times harrowing coming of age film that fully deserves all the awards it's got.
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on 6 February 2013
I liked this film, a thoughtful portrayal of a young hermaphrodite's struggle to be accepted by her family and community. It was thought provoking and well made. This is not a lesbian movie though,which is what I thought it was.
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on 10 May 2011
I did not know this film, but bought it because of the very positive reviews and because excellent Ricardo Darín was in it. The film was much darker than I expected, but it was truly inspirational. Thoroughly recommend it.
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on 30 November 2012
how would i have coped if i had an intersexed child? how would i ensure that they were accepted in my family and wider community. you know who your real friends are if this happens to you i suspect.
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on 14 March 2014
A film with a very diffrent view on gender,enjoy is the wrong word to use while viewing this film,fasination is a better one,Ricardo Darin is amazing as the lead,food for thought.
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on 19 October 2013
Again Argentina brings us an amazing LGBT movie we should all see and be proud of!

This will become a classic!
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