XXY, is a movie about a child who is born with Klinefelter’s syndrome. This is a condition where the person inherits an extra X chromosome. Usually boys have an X and a Y while girls have two X chromosomes. A person with Klinefelter’s syndrome therefore has both male and female genes, although it is not necessary that they should have both sex organs.
While the movie may not be factually true all the time, the movie is not about facts, but instead about the emotional impact that it has on people, not only on those who have the disorder, but on the whole family. The movie is about a teen, who grows up as a girl, but has male sex organs, and how she deals with her sexuality when she matures.
Argentinean movies are making a name for themselves in the international scene for really good, off-beat movies, and XXY is right up there with the best from the country.
In this movie, Alex is born with Klinefelter’s syndrome. Because Alex’s father does not want Alex to be subject to the problems that people with this disorder normally face, he moves to an isolated spot in Uruguay. He loves Alex unconditionally and takes the unusual decision of allowing his child to grow up as is, although most parents of children who are born with the disorder try to make a decision on whether they want their child to be a boy or a girl.
And when Alex becomes a teenager, everything becomes complicated because Alex now has to choose whether to be a boy or a girl. Alex has grown up as a girl, but is more inclined to be a boy and like “being one of the boys”. And when Alex’s mother invites a plastic surgeon to spend some time with them so that they can discuss surgery as an option to remove Alex’s male organ, things take a turn because Alex falls for the surgeon’s son, Alvaro, who himself is dealing with sexual issues of his own.
Although the whole movie deals with a sexual subject, there is nothing crass about it. The subject is dealt with so delicately that you end up empathizing and feeling along with Alex’s father (brilliantly portrayed by Ricardo Darin) a father’s dilemma on how to deal with his child. You know that he loves his child unconditionally, but you also know that you need to provide your child with the choice to decide whether to be a him or a her.
The movie is truly an extraordinary one, a very emotional one, one that forces the viewer to think and more to the point, to feel.
- Argentinean Film Critics Association Awards: Silver Condor: Best Actress: Ines Efron; Best Film: Lucia Puenzo; Best Screenplay: Lucia Puenzo.
- Ariel Awards, Mexico: Silver Ariel: Best Latin American Film: Lucia Puenzo..
- Athens International Film Festival: Golden Athena: Lucia Puenzo.
- Bangkok International Film Festival: Golden Kinnaree Award: Best Film: Lucia Puenzo.
- Cannes Film Festival: Critics Week Grand Prize: Lucia Puenzo; Grand Golden Rail: Lucia Puenzo.
- Cartagena Film Festival: Golden India Catalina: Best Actress: Ines Efron; Best First Work: Lucia Puenzo.
- Clarin Entertainment Awards: Clarin Award: Best Actress: Ines Efron; Best Film: Lucia Puenzo; Best First Work: Lucia Puenzo; Best New Actress: Ines Efron; Best Supporting Actress: Valeria Bertuccelli;
- Edinburgh International Film Festival: New Director’s Award: Lucia Puenzo.
- Goya Awards: Goya: Best Spanish Language Foreign Film: Lucia Puenzo.
- San Francisco International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival: Audience Award: Best Feature Film: Lucia Puenzo.
- World Soundtrack Awards: World Soundtrack Award: Discovery of the Year: Daniel Tarrab, Andres Goldstein.
Directed By: Lucia Puenzo
Produced By: Jose Maria Morales, Carla Pelligra, Luis Puenzo, Fernando Sirianni, Fabienne Vonier.
Written By: Lucia Puenzo
Cast: Ricardo Darin, Ines Efron, Martin Piroyansky. Valeria Bertuccelli.
Music By: Andres Goldstein, Daniel Tarrab.
Cinematography: Natasha Braler.
Editing: Hugo Primero, Alex Zito.
Release Date: June 14, 2007
Running Time: 86 min
Amazon Customer’s review
A Life Determining Conflict – Who Am I? – By Grady Harp
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.XXY,