Winner of both the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival and the
Special Jury Prize for its two leading ladies, this coming-of-age story
confronts America's obsession with skinny women and examines the role of the
woman within the contemporary Hispanic family.
The story begins as rebellious, Rubenesque 18 year-old Ana (America
Ferrera) is graduating from Beverly Hills High School, which she attends
although she lives with her Mexican-American family in East L.A.'s Boyle
Heights. One of her teachers (George Lopez) wants her to go to college on a full
scholarship, but her mother Carmen (Lupe Ontiveros) thinks she should work in
her older sister Estela's (Ingrid Oliu) small garment factory. "It's because I
love you that I make you miserable," Carmen insists, asserting that the only
education a woman needs is learning how to take care of her husband and
children. Not only does Ana loathe the "sweatshop," as she calls it, but she
realizes that, ultimately, her future lies beyond her traditional Latino
community, particularly since a fellow student (Brian Sites) who lives across
town is a romantic interest.
Based on her autobiographical play, Josefina Lopez, co-writer George
LaVoo and director Patricia Cardoso deal with authentic, resilient characters in
real-life situations, albeit with a simplistic, fairy-tale happy ending.
Undoubtedly, one of the most memorable scenes occurs when five garment workers
strip down to their underwear because of the summer heat, and they start
comparing deposits of cellulite with more gusto than those highly-touted
thinny-thins Calista Flockhart or Lara Flynn Boyle could ever imagine. On the
Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Real Women Have Curves" is a fun, fanciful,
feminist 7. It's a celebration of being who you are.
Copyright © 2002 Susan Granger