‘Lingua Franca’ Review: Sensible and Sincere Transgender Journey

LINGUA FRANCA (2019) Review
Directed by Isabel Sandoval

She’s an OFW, she’s fighting for her work, she’s fighting for her identity, she’s fighting for herself. You may say that Isabel Sandoval’s Lingua Franca is an essential viewing. Not just because it’s a terrific drama but because of the issues and themes it addresses, through the journey of Olivia – an undocumented Filipino trans woman during the time of Donald Trump.

Mainstream viewers may not be used to stories such as this, but to tackle the plight of transgender people and making them relatable, making them human and not just for entertainment, is something we need today. Lingua Franca may be an eye opener to those who doesn’t know any trans people.

We get a sensible and sincere story of a trans woman, there are no theatrics here just honest and raw take on the journey of Olivia (played by Isabel Sandoval). From her work as a caregiver, to being a daughter, a provider to her family back in the Philippines, to finding her true happiness and her desires, this is really our story. It may be about a trans woman but the obstacles and the emotional journey of Olivia is all of us.

That’s what makes Lingua Franca more accessible than what you may expect. Isabel’s performance is heartfelt, this is her character’s journey but you feel Olivia more than just what is presented on the surface. I love how the film can go heartbreaking and warm, how it can be relatable but not generic.

Olivia is being unwrapped in here, we are knowing her on a personal level. And that makes her pain, her happiness and her worries feel real. That these pain, happiness and worries are ours as well. We get to be in her shoes as the story unfolds. And that makes Lingua Franca an inspiring and moving experience.


‘Lingua Franca’ is now streaming at Cinema ’76 @Home for P250. Click the link below for more information: https://watch.eventive.org/cinema76fs/play/5f8fc70637a1ce0045326944

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