Marina (Daniela Vega) is a waitress and nightclub singer who has a loving relationship with Orlando, an older divorced man. The night of his birthday, Orlando suffers an aneurysm and falls down the stairs. Marina rushes him to a hospital, but he dies. This sudden shock would be tragic enough for Marina, but what follows is more complicated because Marina is transgender. Although Orlando’s brother is sympathetic to Marina, Orlando’s ex-wife, their son and the rest of his family are hostile. She is investigated by the police, told not to attend the funeral and has to find her own path to mourning. The filmmakers have gained a lot of credit for casting a transgender actress to play Marina, and Vega does a remarkable job.
Some foreign friends of mine have asked me why transgender issues are so often in the news in the United States considering that barely one-half of one percent of Americans self-identify as transgender. In a way, I suppose they serve as an inspiration for many other marginalized minority groups. At any rate, A Fantastic Woman portrays the obstacles faced by transgender women as well as any film has.