Lucía Puenzo's excellent XXY does something really impressive: It makes a very specific and unusual circumstance into a coming-of-age story that's both accessible and universally relevant.

Alex (Inés Efron) was born with an extra chromosome, the most dramatic physical manifestation of which was the growth of both boy parts and girl parts. At birth, her parents decided against surgery and made the decision to raise her as a girl, but at age 15, it's becoming clear that Alex's gender identity isn't sitting well—she's stopped taking the pills that prevent her from masculinizing. Her mother has invited a plastic surgeon to visit and consider the possibility of surgery, but Alex seems unwilling or unable to fully commit to either gender; she's also developed a voracious sexual appetite that she awkwardly attempts to satisfy with the plastic surgeon's gawky gay son.

Gender identity is at the root of this film, but it's almost incidental to the plot, which has more to do with Alex angrily fighting to assert her right to exist on her own terms. XXY is about a hermaphrodite, sure, but it's also about a person struggling to figure out where she fits into the world—and if, or why, she must change herself to find her place.