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Rated NR

Comedy
The popular stage play by Josefina Lopez comes to the screen à la director Patricia Cardoso. It’s a subtle and insightful adaptation that opens the play up beyond the proscenium. In her first movie role, 18-year-old America Ferrera portrays recent high-school graduate Ana, a second-generation Mexican-American who has learned to love her voluptuous figure and, more importantly, wants to explore her place in the world. Ferrera is a fiercely intelligent actress who brings a naturalistic grace to her character. She is matched note for note by the veteran performer Lupe Ontiveros (whom indie film fans will best remember from the discomforting Chuck and Buck) as Ana’s mother, Carmen. She has settled for working in the family dressmaking shop and poo-poos her daughter’s ambitions to go to college. The tensions between mother and daughter feel convincing and real, rather than trite and forced. It’s a reaffirming, nurturing and powerful film that refutes the damaging weight-consciousness foisted on our society’s teen-age girls.

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