A poignant and moving urban drama, focusing on the growing problem of sexual assault in Mexico City. Director Sistach fictionalizes the true story of a friendship between two adolescent ...
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A poignant and moving urban drama, focusing on the growing problem of sexual assault in Mexico City. Director Sistach fictionalizes the true story of a friendship between two adolescent girls which is torn apart when one of them is brutally raped. Rebellious tomboy Yessica is frequently in trouble at school and at home, with its lower middle-class limitations. She is always at odds with her mother, bullying stepfather, and despicable stepbrother, Jorge. Then Jorge strikes a deal with a friend, helping the man trap Yessica and rape her, in exchange for money. Terrified and ashamed of the attack, Yessica remains silent, seeking comfort in her friendship with innocent and childlike Miriam, from a more stable home, though reared by a poor single mother. Tragedy unfolds as Yessica increasingly relies on Miriam and begins to get the naive girl into trouble, until Miriam finds she is no longer in control of her fate. Written by
Important issues with well acted roles and only some problems in the narrative
Yessica is a troubled teenage tomboy who moves schools again after being expelled for hitting her teacher. She lives in poor conditions with her brother Jorge, mother and two other very young siblings and she befriends the sweetly naïve Miriam who appears to Yessica to be living in luxury with her mother. The two become very good friends and spend a lot of time together. One day Jorge agrees to set up Yessica to be raped by one of his friends in exchange for money and afterwards threatens Miriam to keep quiet about it. Yessica's increasing reliance on Miriam puts pressure on their relationship.
What starts as a comment on the problem of sexual abuse in Mexico's cities turns into more of a specific dramatic story that is good for the most part but gets weaker as it goes. For the most part the film looks at the friendship between Yessica and Miriam and how both it and Yessica herself are changed when she is repeatedly raped by her brother's friend. For the vast majority of the film this is very involving and seems very real and rather moving; this changes a little near the end where events go further than they really should in the aim of bringing the film to a dramatic close, but it's point is still made. It is not really easy to get into mainly because Yessica is never once made an easy character to feel for she is troubled, unpleasant and difficult and the film rightly challenges us that these characteristics may not be there, they may have been caused and we are wrong to judge her or label her. The plot maybe lacks enough going on to fill out the time and parts of the second half feel like they drag a little bit, but this is a minor problem and it is hard to lose interest due to the nature of the story.
The characters are pretty well drawn despite being a little bit basic outside of the lead two. Both Yessica and Miriam change over the duration of the film. Yessica is the most convincing but Miriam's is harder to understand despite also being engaging and interesting. It is fortunate that both characters are very well acted. Ayala takes the hardest role and manages to make it work well; she wins the audience's sympathy but not by just becoming pathetic or needy. Gutiérrez is sweeter and a more sympathetic character and manages to be realistic even when the plot turns and makes her character more difficult to follow along with. The rest of the cast are good with their smaller roles and I didn't think there were any bad performances in the piece.
Overall this is a difficult film but one that is worth seeing. The plot deals with an important issue and manages to do it well despite overextending itself towards the end. The performances are natural and really drive the film. It is far from perfect and it is lacking in several areas but it is involving and important enough to be worth a watch at least once.
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