A film of haunting beauty and compassion
XXY (2007) Being a teenager means growing up and narrowly surviving particular milestones that eventually catapult you into adulthood. This means having to make decisions, whether or not to go to the prom, should you attend the game on Saturday with your friends, or just stay home and talk on the phone discussing who kissed who, on the bleachers during gym class? Nevertheless, what about the more complicated decisions that are a normal part of becoming an adult? What of sexuality? Deciding if you like girls or boys. What if you wanted both? What if the decision, to be male or female was something also to consider? Would it be easy to decide how externally to be whom internally, you really are?
Alex (Ines Efron) is a fifteen-year-old hermaphrodite and has to take corticosteroids that suppress the male hormone, testosterone. Her parents, raised Alex, to be female. Alex’s parents make their living rescuing marine life. Her father wrote a book regarding some marine animals possessing both male and female organs; like the clownfish–that are natural hermaphrodites or sequential hermaphroditism; and can change to either male or female when either sex pair dies.
Alex’s parents invite over a surgeon and his wife, who are there to persuade the parents as to why Alex should have surgery that would definitively make ‘her’ female. The surgeon and his wife bring along their son, Alvaro (Martin Piroyansky), who is instantly attracted to Alex. However, there’s another young male interested in Alex, but told other young men in the village of Alex’s ‘uniqueness.’ From there on, Alex and the relationships with these two young men collide into intense competition for Alex’s affection. What makes the situation more complicated–each boy is attracted to a different personality, or each, individual, physical, sexual characteristics of Alex. Sounds cumbersome but brilliant as you can sense the intensity of the actors’ roles, even more so when the final decision rests only with Alex.