XXY (Lucía Puenzo, Argentina, 2007)

A Review by Maria Guarino


“¿Qué sabes voz de las especies en mi casa?” Alex (Inés Efron) asks Alvaro (Martín

Piroyansky), crushing a rare bug that he is attempting to sketch. XXY (2007) directed and

written by Lucía Puenzo is a painful narrative of the journey of a fifteen-year-old intersex

adolescent, Alex. Though (s)he has identified as a female throughout her life, (s)he has recently

stopped taking the hormones to hide her/his masculinity, and is exploring her/his sexual identity

and gender.

What struck me as most successful from XXY were the various lenses we were able to

view Alex through, never really seeing or hearing her/his point of view except through quick,

intense flashes of emotion. We watch her/his mother, intent on a surgery to change Alex to a

female. We watch her/his father insist to Alex and everyone else that (s)he is perfect the way

(s)he is, but feel his shock and confusion when he witnesses Alex in a sexual encounter that he

did not anticipate. Reactions as strong and violent as sexual assault in the name of curiosity, as

well as sexual pursuit by someone confused about his own sexual identity both happen in the

film, as everyone struggles to understand Alex.

At the end of the film, when Alex’s father tells her that (s)he can choose whichever

gender identity (s)he wants, (s)he asks him, “¿Y si no hay nada que elegir?” This is a powerful

moment, making me realize that I had been following the perceptions and opinions of everyone

else in the film, never taking into account that perhaps, to Alex, gender has never been a


To quote this review, please use the reference: Guarino, Maria «Review of XXY» Gynocine Project, Ed. Barbara Zecchi, www.gynocine.com