Real Women Have Curves

Real Women Have Curves


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

For "real", read "fat". Maybe, now is the time for an anorexic backlash. Skinny girls have had it their own way too long.

Based on a play by Josefina Lopez, this charming little film isn't quite what it seems. The "real" issue is a by-product of the important one - family vs college - and, as such, a contemporary comedy/drama.

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Ana (America Ferrera) is 18, Rubenesque and Mexican. She is clever enough to have procured a place at the prestigious Beverly Hills High School, where her English teacher (George Lopez) pulls strings to find her a scholarship at Columbia University, New York. Her mother (Lupe Ontiveros) won't hear of it: "We are a family and we intend to stay that way." Ana is put to work in her sister's (Ingrid Oliu) "fashion factory", ironing dresses.

She sulks at home, hates her life, irons badly. Slowly, she eases off with the teenage rebellion and becomes involved in her sister's business, which is struggling for lack of workers - she employs two ladies and her mother - and a glut of orders.

Ana's character breaks through and while its breaking, glimpses of Mexican/American life, with all its warmth, noise, passion and rhythm, bring colour to your cheeks. The film is affectionate and sentimental in a good way.

Ontiveros is the archetypal matriarch, defending her family against invidious change. It is a powerful performance, beautifully observed. Ferrera carries herself with pride, as Ana constantly makes jokes about her figure. These women are real, alright, and the situation in which they find themselves is well known throughout the world. There is another word for it - stretch marks.

Reviewed on: 30 Jan 2003
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Teen coming-of-age drama centring on a rebellious Mexican/American.
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Director: Patricia Cardosa

Writer: George LaVoo, Josefina Lopez, based on the play by Josefina Lopez

Starring: America Ferrera, Lupe Ontiveros, Ingrid Oliu, George Lopez, Brian Sites, Soledad St Hilaire, Lourdes Peres

Year: 2002

Runtime: 90 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: US


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