Almost a Woman (2006)
A girl poised on the brink of adolescence finds herself shouldering a whole new set of responsibilities in this made-for-TV drama based on the autobiographical book by Esmeralda Santiago. In 1961, Mami Santiago (Wanda De Jesus) decides to leave her life in a Puerto Rican farming community behind and move herself and her six children to New York City in search of a better life -- and better medical care for her ailing son. Mami's oldest daughter, Esmerelda (Ana Maria Lagasca) -- Negi for short -- not only has trouble adapting to her new environment, but doesn't quite fit in at her new school, where she's lumped in with other Spanish speaking students with whom she shares no common culture. Negi's burden is intensified by the fact her mother and siblings are counting on her to learn English and serve as the family's interpreter. One of Negi's teachers senses her creative gifts and arranges for her to audition for the Performing Arts School in Manhattan, but as Negi struggles to learn a monologue in a new language she has yet to master, she isn't sure if she has what it takes to make the grade. Esmeralda Santiago penned the screenplay for Almost A Woman from her own memoir; the film was first broadcast as part of the award-winning PBS anthology series Masterpiece Theater. … More
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Critic Reviews for Almost a Woman
Audience Reviews for Almost a Woman
A tender, sweet coming of age story, based on the memoir of Esmerelda Santiago, about a young girl transplanted from Puerto Rico to New York in the early sixties. Newcomer Ana Maria Lagasca shines as the young woman trying to honor her hard working mother and her PR culture while attending the NY High School for the Performing Arts and its high demands. Her family may be poor, but they are proud. They may struggle to learn English and American ways, but they are hard working and upwardly mobile. The family may be quite large, even enormous by our standards, but that only means there is more love to go around. This was inspiring and heart-warming and just plain entertaining. Produced for PBS, the production values are top-notch. It refrains from showing us the grittier side of working in sweat shops and applying for public assistance, but there are hints of that darker side, if one looks. This viewer enjoyed it for what it was, one woman's recollection of what it was like to feel suspended between two incompatible cultures and finding her way.More
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