Real Women Have Curves Reviews
These days there is a lot of talk about the American Dream with politicians bandying about the term with little critical insight and the late, great George Carlin saying, "They call it that because you have to be asleep to believe it.;" But this is a film with its eyes wide open and a focused, almost myopic support of the possibilities that still remain for this nation's under-represented.
America Ferrera's performance as a focused, determined woman who is torn by her tradition-worshiping mother and her dreams of going to college is quite strong, and we quickly gain an admiring respect for the character as Ferrera embodies her. Likewise, the antagonist, played by Lupe Ontiveros, is believable as being able to combine love, fear, and manipulation in a single action. These are two fine actresses giving strong performances.
Though the film is able to celebrate women without demonizing men, there are nonetheless structural flaws. Director Patricia Cardoso tries to add Latin music to smooth out the film's transitions, but the scenes are unevenly short and episodic. Also, we never see much development in Ana's character. It is as though she either wakes up or starts the movie ready to give a school assembly speech to young girls about the importance of self-esteem, use of condoms, and higher education. Thus, she becomes a one-dimensional character and a mouthpiece for the director and screenwriters. Nothing she says is objectionable, but a film so invested in character should allow us more insight into her journey.
Overall, there's no reason not to show this film to every teenager in the country, regardless of ethnicity or size, but there are many reasons not to show it in film school.
I can see why America Ferrera was singled out after playing Ana in this film, a character that manages to touch its audience in every possible way. America delivers a fine performance alongside Lupe Ontiveros, Ana's invading mother. I must point out that both share an amaaazing amount of chemistry which makes the film even more believable.
Worth many viewings.