Difficult dilemmas are inevitable obstacles during adolescence and early adulthood, but Alex in the film XXY faces decisions that trump all others in their impossibility. Born with both male and female reproductive organs, Alex, played by the talented Ines Efron, has faced fifteen years of ambiguity and public judgment that have made adolescence exponentially more difficult. This constant mood of ambiguity throughout the film seems to place an invisible fog over the characters, clouding them from the viewer and enhancing the somber tone of the film.
XXY, directed by Lucia Puenzo, attempts to tackle the dilemmas faced by intersexed persons and shed some light onto this struggling community that is typically unknown to the public. The mood, conveyed through somber extra-diegetic music and isolated landscapes, among other elements, allows the audience to experience the stress of this situation faced by Alex and her family. Each of the main characters must battle a difficult dilemma, and the film does a great job of expressing the magnitude of the decisions and what is at stake. Alex’s parents must decide between letting Alex choose what she wants to do and arranging the surgery against Alex’s will. Ricardo Darin gives a fantastic performance as Alex’s father, and he struggles with this dilemma because he loves and adores his child, never letting the audience doubt his dedication for a second. From Alex’s perspective, it is even more difficult, because she is trying to figure out her sexual orientation, which, as Alvaro’s character shows, can be difficult during puberty even for those born with only one sex’s organs. Should Alex have her penis removed to live a regular life as a woman because her peers think she is a freak, or should she accept herself as an intersexed person and live her life on her own terms? In highlighting these difficult dilemmas and indirectly calling Alex a freakish abnormality through interactions with her peers, one could wonder if Lucia Puenzo’s film is actually counterproductive to progressive attitude changes. These questions are not answered in the film, and it leaves the viewer with a feeling of warm emptiness in its conclusion, with no real definitive decisions made, causing the dread of the ambiguity to linger long after the closing credits.