A Fantastic Woman a 'simmering, elegant knockout of a film'

It's Oscars weekend and many of the big hitters are still in Kiwi cinemas - Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Lady Bird, I, Tonya and The Great Showman to name a few.

Also opening this weekend is Best Foreign Language Oscar nominee A Fantastic Woman, and it would make me very, very happy to see this Chilean Oscar nominee take it home on Monday.

A Fantastic Woman is a simmering, elegant knockout of a film and must be seen.

Chilean actress Daniela Vega is Marina. She's in love with Orlando, and he with her. But her life is thrown into turmoil when he suddenly dies.

Processing the shock and grief is quantum enough - the hideous, corrosive scorn she faces from his family as a trans-woman. Their disgust at her very existence, at first thinly disguised under a veil of courteous tolerance, is soon full frontal, and amidst it all, she is a serenely defiant beacon of restraint and dignity.

The key to the humanity in this story is in the truly accessible way it's told - simply, with affectation, the slow-burn effect bringing a very real memorability.

The fear translates to hate as so-called civilised "normal" people pass judgement on the LGBT community, expressed here in a way that just cannot fail to connect.

Why Vega wasn't nominated for the Best Actress Oscar is a mystery. In this captivating, inspirational film she is luminous. A "Fantastic Woman" indeed.

Four-and-a-half stars.