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Real Women Have Curves

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Real Women Have Curves

Starring: America Ferrera, Lupe Ontiveros
Director: Patricia Cardoso
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 85 Minutes
Release Date: October 2002
Genre: Drama

*Also starring: Michele Moretti, Ingrid Oliu, George Lopez

Review by Susan Granger
3 stars out of 4

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

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