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Princesa (2001)

03/11/2023 BY WR3N

Directed by Henrique Goldman, this movie depicts the life of a Brazilian Transgender woman that moves to Italy. It is a fictional story, but it manages to represent reality in a very accurate manner. It’s not your usual fairy tale, but this movie can be inspiring in several ways. After all, reality may be disappointing, but learning more about it helps us move forward.


Roanyer Blog Princesa (2001)


This movie is emotional, and many of our sisters will relate to its story. It’s not as renowned as other movies about trans people since it’s not a big Hollywood production. Besides that, being trans was still a big taboo when it came out. But still enjoyable and worth seeing in its own right. If you want to learn more about this masterpiece, keep reading!


1- Plot summary


Princesa (2001)


The movie follows the young Fernanda. She’s a 19 years-old-Brazilian “Travesti,” a word used in Brazil to describe transgender women. It follows her journey to Italy, where she becomes a sex worker in hopes of making a small fortune and affording a Gender-affirming surgery. She adopts the nickname “Princesa,” which means “Princess” in Portuguese.


Roanyer Blog Princesa (2001)


After a while, going through humiliation and degrading circumstances, she meets Gianni. He’s an Italian lawyer who falls in love with her, even after discovering she’s Trans. He even divorces his previous wife to be with Fernanda, giving her the life she always wanted as a woman. This is as much as I can tell you about the plot without spoiling the end, and I know some of you don’t like it. So beware of spoilers in the next paragraph!


Roanyer Blog Princesa (2001)


She enjoys it at first, even after a dispute between Gianni and her “pimp,” Karin. The problem is that she doesn’t find this new life so exciting and starts to feel bored with housework and chores. She finds herself stuck between this domesticity and her previous career. But things get even more complicated when Gianni’s ex-wife reveals she’s pregnant. It’s a massive blow to Fernanda’s self-esteem, as she can never have a baby herself. Fearing to lose Gianni, she leaves him and returns to Brazil in a bittersweet ending. One that is somewhat different from the tragic fate of the real-life Fernanda.


2- Why is it impactful?


Roanyer Blog Princesa (2001)


This movie is impactful because it’s based on a true story and shows some challenges trans people have to overcome. Though we are starting to change the circumstances, the reality is still harsh for LGBT people. Brazil itself, the home of Fernanda, is the country that kills trans people the most. As such, this movie tries to reflect this reality and portray a real scenario for a Brazilian trans woman. Besides that, Fernanda was played by a real Brazilian trans woman, Ingrid de Souza. And the script was based on the biography of the real-life Fernanda. Her struggles and difficulties make the story relatable to many of our sisters. It was very progressive when it was released and remains impactful to this day. But it doesn’t end there.


Roanyer Blog Princesa (2001)


As mentioned, the main character was based on a real-life person, also called Fernanda, a friend of the director. But her story is far darker than what we see in the movie. She suffered from severe depression due to transphobia and had low self-esteem. in the end, she lost this internal battle and committed suicide a few years before Goldman could start filming “Princesa.” The director swore to conclude the film after that and promised to make it a homage to his deceased friend. As such, He tried to imagine how things could’ve turned out if she was still alive. And even though the film is not as tragic, Goldman tried to portray her struggles as accurately as possible. He wanted to show the audience how resilient we must become if we want to be ourselves. And to do so, the director did a lot of research on the stuff we must go through. He tried to understand us to create a believable story and give justice to the real Fernanda.


Nonetheless, the results are impressive and make up for a great film. The experience is touching, as we can see ourselves going through the same situations, feeling what the characters feel. I could be the real story if it weren’t for her tragic fate. But now, Fernanda, like many others, inspires us to accept who we are. There’s still hope for all of our sisters.


3- Who should watch it?


Roanyer Blog Princesa (2001)


Considering the themes approached by this movie, I wouldn’t recommend it to children. It’s a pretty sensitive work, and it could make trans children fear coming out. As such, I recommend it for adult trans people since they are better at managing emotions and interpreting information. But besides the age restrictions, I believe any cross-dressers could enjoy this movie. It’s an appealing story that helps us rethink our understanding of femininity. It also allows us to accept who we are and to be ourselves instead of someone else to please society.


Roanyer Blog Princesa (2001)


It also warns us of all the things we may go through after coming out. This movie doesn’t try to hide how hard things are for trans people. But also encourages us to face those injustices and fight for our rights and dreams. All our sisters should see its inspiring message, from casual cross-dressers to transgender women. We may have different gender identities, but all of us could use some inspiration. In that case, it happens to come from a Brazilian trans girl.





The movie is a masterpiece of its time. The progressive ideas it depicts still stand out today. In this movie, stuff that is frequently covered up by the media is there for everyone to see. It’s a great example of positive representation, with a touch of realism to keep our feet on the ground. This kind of work tells stories that need to be told, and this one does an excellent job. The magic is its mundane, everyday aspects that let us relate to the main character and feel her emotions. As such, I recommend it to everyone who’s old enough to see it. Have you seen it already? If so, what do you think? And if not, do you have any other recommendations? We’d love to hear that from you, so leave us a comment!

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