Real Women Have Curves

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Real Women Have Curves, Cellulite, and Big Boobs

May 10, 2003
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:America Ferrera is a natural on the big screen.

Cons:Not a lot of surprises - you'll probably know where it's going.

The Bottom Line: Wonderful to watch - even more than once.

Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie's plot.

I think I'm on a roll with independent movies :). Like Bend It Like Beckham, Real Women Have Curves is a small movie - in budget and name recognition - with a lot to offer its audience.

The Story
Eighteen year-old Ana (America Ferrera) is part of a second-generation Mexican-American family made up of her mother Carmen (Lupe Ontiveros), father Raul (Jorge Cervera Jr.), and sister Estela (Ingrid Oliu). As she closes out her senior year in high school, she doesn't know what her future holds.

Her mother wants her to come to work at her sister's sweatshop where a group of other Mexican-American women sit around in unbearable conditions, sewing dresses for Macy's and Bloomingdale's. Ana finds the whole operation disgusting because her sister gets $18 per dress while the upscale stores sell their dresses for $600 a pop.

Ana would like to go to college at Columbia University and with the encouragement of her high school teacher, Mr. Guzman (George Lopez) she completes an application and is accepted on a full scholarship. The problem is that her family doesn't want her to go away. They wanted her to stay home, with her family, and settle down and get married.

Does Ana stay and help the family out? Does she go to college? All of this - and more - can be answered, if you see the movie!

What I Thought
There seems to be more than a few movies out there that address the second generation of different cultural families - Joy Luck Club, Bend It Like Beckham, My Big Fat Greek Wedding - and now Real Women Have Curves. If you've seen the other movies, you might wonder if this movie has anything to offer. It absolutely does.

Writers Josefina Lopez and George LaVoo have created characters which we can all identify with. If you're currently looking at two or more forks in the road of your life, the character of Ana is painted with a lot of common sense and honesty. If you're an individual who resents change and movement away from tradition, the character of Carmen is one that feels like home. If you're an individual who is stuck between what needs to be done and what may be possible, you'll find Estela's character to be painfully familiar.

Director Patricia Cardoso had a great cast to deal with however, credit must be given to her for not driving the story into the direction of bad mother vs. good daughter. She provided opportunities for the main players in the family to reflect their values and motivations behind their strict beliefs. Throughout the movie, I didn't once feel bored by her pacing. She took her time to tell a story but she didn't make it a painful, slow-moving experience.

The real gem of this movie is the three actresses who play Ana, Carmen, and Estela. All of the same family, all with different perspectives, I didn't see any of them overpower one another in scenes just so that they could snag the audience in to paying attention to them.

America Ferrera is probably one of the most natural presences in the film world today. Teen-age angst isn't difficult to convey, it's the weaving in of the other emotions in order to get the right blend so that the audience doesn't resent your presence and make you out to be nothing but a high-paid whiner :). I know I'm not the only one that thinks so highly of her. The Sundance Film Festival awarded her the Special Jury Prize for acting in 2002.

Real Women Have Curves is rated PG-13 for sexual content and some language. I didn't find either on the offensive side. As far as nudity - you do get to see some chicks in their underwear and bra but everything you might be interested in catching a sneak peak at is covered up :).

DVD Details
My husband wasn't at ALL pleased that the DVD didn't have trailers. He's a trailer type of guy :).

Languages: The film is primarily in English with the characters speaking some phrases in Spanish. When they do this, you'll automatically see subtitles in English pop up.

If you like having subtitles on the entire film, you can choose from English, French and Spanish.

Commentaries: There are two commentaries on the dvd. One is from America Ferrera and Lupe Ontiveros and the other features writers George LaVoo and Josefina Lopez, and director Patricia Cardoso.

Although I enjoyed both commentaries immensely, I would have really enjoyed it if they would have merged both together. That way, I could get the entire picture all at once :).

Other: Dolby 5.1, 2.0 Stereo; Cast and Crew Bios.

Recommend this product? Yes

Viewing Format: DVD

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