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Real Women Have Curves /

Rated: PG-13

Starring: America Ferrera, Lupe Ontiveros, Ingrid Oliu, Brian Sites, George Lopez 

Directed by: Patricia Cardoso 

Produced by: George LaVoo, Effie T. Brown 

Written by: Josefina Lopez, George LaVoo 

Distributor: Newmarket Films

 

Movie Image
Movie Image
Movie Image

Warning: Spoilers ahead. If you plan to see this film, read my review for it after viewing the movie. You have been warned.

ďThatís a size six. Youíll never fit into that, fatty.Ē

     These are the rather harsh words exchanged between a mother and daughter in Real Women Have Curves. This is a feel-good film, which brilliantly showcases young-talent and multi-dimensional writing. Genuinely beautiful and pleasingly entertaining, many members of the audience will undoubtedly walk out of the theatre, touched. Real Women Have Curves advertises itself as the next My Big Fat Greek Wedding. This is only to get peopleís attention. The two films couldnít be any different. The first throws light-hearted humor at the audience. This film deals with the many self-image issues that confront tons of teenage girls these days. Real Women Have Curves should be viewed by younger members of society; it will undeniably better their character. It is the most motivational and tasteful film Iíve come across in quite some time.

     Ana (America Ferrera) is an intelligent, young Mexican-American girl. She would like to succeed in life, and become someone meaningful. Eighteen years of age, Ana hopes to go to a four year college, but a problem lies in her way. Even though she is as American as any of the other girls at her school, Anaís family continues to follow Mexican traditions, outside of their native country. Ana will not move away from home until she marries, and she will work for the family business until she finds this husband, to keep tradition. It will be very hard to convince her family to allow her to go to college. Helping her in doing so is her high school English teacher, Mr. Guzman (George Lopez). Mr. Guzman knows how bright Ana is, and he continually tries to show her parents how much she would benefit from higher education. When they say they donít have the money, he tells them that he will get her full a scholarship. Ana and Mr. Guzman are determined to do this.

     For the time being, however, Ana will have to work with her mother and sister in the family dressmaking sweatshop. They make loads of dresses, and sell them to a retailer, who then puts them on store shelves for at least twenty times what they bought them for. This is where the film deals with self-image issues. In addition to her intelligence, Ana is also a little pudgy. She is very pretty, but overweight. Her mother is constantly making fun of her for this. She claims that Ana wouldíve already had a boyfriend, and been ready to marry him, if she had been skinnier. Making countless dresses in size zero and size two for thin women is a constant reminder of this, for Ana. But she doesnít want to change her image. She is happy with who she is, even though she isnít perfect. No one is perfect. Ana knows that her mother is sending her the wrong message. She is finally able to find a boy, who judges her for her inner-beauty. His name is Jimmy (Brian Sites). For once in her life, she is able to disregard her motherís seemingly hateful comments. Ana knows that Jimmy and she were meant to be, and that she has finally found someone right.

     Jimmy will be leaving soon to go to college, though. His departure will be very saddening for Ana. This is the point where Real Women Have Curves couldíve gone terribly wrong, but chooses the right path, instead. Is Ana going to try to disobey her parents, and get into the exact same college as Jimmy, in order to live happily ever after? No, she will accept the change in her life, and learn to live with it, like any normal person in any normal situation would. The ending is actually fairly unpredictable, which is nice to see, considering that it is a member of a very predictable genre. Anaís way of developing as the story moves is undeniably divine. This is conceived through the stylish writing, by Josefina Lopez, that is purely inspiring. The story leaves incisions in viewerís personalities, which mold and craft their character, and show them the true meaning of life and how appearances should be valued. This is a much more emotionally important film than it is cinematically groundbreaking. The story loses a bit of its effect when being put onto film (it was adapted from a play), but still contains a meaningful impact. Itís clearly one of the most visionary movies of the year, putting it into comparison.

     The entire film is carried by leading lady, Ferrera. She is so wonderfully strong in such a powerful role, itís amazing to watch her glow onscreen. In one of the most dynamic scenes of the film, Ana is standing naked in front of Jimmy in a dark room. She tells him to turn on the light so she can see her for what she is. He can see her real appearance. He tells her that she is beautiful. We sense the real love, compassion, and chemistry between the two, and truly believe that Ana is one of the most gorgeous people alive. We see her grace explode into an earthquake of feeling; so elegant and alive. This is a strong woman who knows who she is; she has discovered her true identity. Ana is a wonderful character, and Ferrera portrays her in one of the most glamorous of ways. Balancing humor, sexiness, and dignity, Ferrera is sure to be one of the strongest performers in the industry in coming years. There are problems that lie in her way, though; just like every other performers. She cannot speak fluent Spanish, so she canít act in any Mexican-made films. And, there arenít many films about the Mexican culture, that are primarily done in English, like this one. But, just as Ana overcomes obstacles in Real Women Have Curves, I assume that Ferrera will be able to do the same with her acting career. Most likely, she will learn to be as good in pure-bread American movies, as she was in Real Women Have Curves. I donít see any problems with that, and I donít know why she should have reason to, either.

     Real Women Have Curves is a wonderful coming-of-age film that is a delight to watch. It is thoroughly enjoyable, as well as deeply meaningful. I guess you could say that it kills two birds with one stone; itís a good exercise in filmmaking, as well as a motivational piece of excellence. Thanks to a strong performance by Ferrera and her co-stars, strong writing by Lopez, and a tremendous natural feel for its material, Real Women Have Curves succeeds on many levels. Watching the film, I felt as though it was a kaleidoscope-like view of real life. It truly feels as though the actors are living the lives of their characters, and that they arenít just simply acting in front of a camera. Each performer must be able to strongly relate to their character. Ferrera, I know, admits to this. In interviews, she mentions that the reason why she chose the role was because she could relate to most all of the aspects of the film. She says that she and her mother have similar battles to the one that Ana and her mom do, about jumbling acting and education. Ferrera also says that several people have called her obese, but sheís proud of what she is. Real Women Have Curves has a firm grasp on this topic, and never letís go of what itís trying to accomplish. This is what makes it such a miraculous achievement.

-Danny, Bucket Reviews

 


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