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Lingua Franca 15 rating

An undocumented immigrant searches for safety and security in Isabel Sandoval's poignant mix of love story and social drama.

Drama 2019 94 mins

Director: Isabel Sandoval



Olivia, a Filipino transwoman living in Brooklyn, goes through each day with the agonising threat of deportation weighing on her shoulders. When not surreptitiously working as a caregiver for Olga, an elderly Russian woman, Olivia spends her time documenting a staged relationship with the man who has agreed to marry her so she can obtain legal status in the US. One day Olivia meets Olga’s grandson Alex, a despondent slaughterhouse worker battling his own inner demons and over time the pair develop a strong connection. When plans for her Green Card fall through, Olivia is left feeling hopeless about her future. But perhaps Alex can offer her the security she so desperately needs?

Both a beautifully performed character study and an incisive critique on race and immigration in Trump’s America, writer-director Isabel Sandoval (who also takes on the role of Olivia) has crafted a deeply moving work of great intimacy and insight. Deftly exploring complex themes around identity, sexual desire and structural disempowerment, Lingua Franca is a timely portrait of struggle and of hope.