Real Women Have Curves
Patricia Cardosa's debut full-length feature film tells the story of Ana Garcia (newcomer America Ferrera), a first-generation Mexican-American teen from East L.A. who had the smarts to get into a prestigious Beverly Hills high school. Now that she has her high-school diploma, her overbearing, hypercritical, Catholic mother, Carmen (Storytelling's Lupe Ontiveros), wants her to settle down, get married, and work in her older sister's dressmaking factory cum sweatshop, but Ana has her heart and mind set on grander plans. Ferrera shines bright through the rather dull elements in this film. She tries to offer what the screenplay lacks--an honest, practical perspective on what it's like to be a young adult--but the supporting cast and dialogue of the ABC Afterschool Special variety drag down the otherwise engaging story. The real beauty of Curves lies in the relationship between Ana and her manipulative mother as the former struggles to find a balance between independence and familial duty. There is love in Ana's defiance and in Carmen's guilt-inducing actions, albeit a twisted one.