When XXY opens, we're greeted with beautiful, undersea masses, each looking like they exist in their own floating world -- while still being attached to each other through waving, living cords. It's a stunning, yet sadly apt metaphor for the film, because while these are interconnected, the characters in Lucia Puenzo's film are anything but. They are struggling -- both to connect with each other and to uphold what they think is right. Unfortunately, the realm of what is 'right' is wavering and unclear. In the first scene, we see the start of an autopsy on a dead turtle. When the shell is removed, marine biologist Kraken (Ricardo Darín) sadly states that it was a girl. Unfortunately, his world isn't as cut and dry as the slain turtle's.
He has a kid named Alex -- wonderfully played by Inés Efron. Alex is a hermaphrodite who has been living through her adolescence as a girl. The family has moved around a lot, and it becomes clear that they've done so for the young kid's privacy and comfort. Alex's mother Suli (Valeria Bertuccelli), without talking to her husband, invites a surgeon and his family to visit and assess the situation -- with hopes that Alex will agree to have her penis removed and finally transition into one sex. What Suli doesn't realize is that Alex has stopped taking the prescribed hormones.