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Real Women Have Curves
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Real Women Have Curves More at IMDbPro »

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One of the best films of the year....any year.

Author: yossarian100 from usa
28 April 2003

Wonderful! Charming! Touching! Hilarious! An very honest coming of age film and a true celebration of being human. One of the best films of the year....any year. What a brilliant film debut for America Ferrera as Ana. Her performance was so lively and fresh and believable and I fell in love with her right away. The supporting cast was perfect and includes an over the top screen characterization by Lupe Ontiveros as Ana's more than somewhat bewildered and bewildering mom and a stand up job by Ingrid Oliu as Estella, the hard working never give up sister. Real Women Have Curves appears to be a first effort by director Patricia Cardoso and I sincerely hope it's not her last because her direction was flawless. This film contains memorable scenes, an oscar winning first performance, a great screenplay, a lively sound track, and I can't recommend it highly enough. Simply wonderful!!!!

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Real women do have curves, and much more...

10/10
Author: zeid (rucunus@yahoo.fr) from Paris, France
12 April 2003

* no spoilers (for a change)*

If you love character-based cinema, very good acting, women and if you are still a bit romantic (despite the reality crashing in your face every day), you'll love that one.

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nice family move for Latinos

Author: otisdog from Portland, Oregon
5 March 2003

nice flick for family viewing. Positve message about ladies that don't conform to traditional beauty standards. See it and enjoy! There is nothing really offensive or objectionable. I give it a solid 7 out of 10.

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A good dysfunctional family coming-of-age tale

8/10
Author: Bruce Burns (burnsb319@earthlink.net) from Austin, Texas
22 January 2003

In "Real Women Have Curves", we meet Ana, an 18-year-old high school graduate who wants to go to college, but has to contend with her mother first.

Carmen, Ana's mother, believes that Ana has been spoiled by too much education and empowerment. She has been working full-time as a seamstress since she was 13, and she is more than a little jealous that her daughter has all these opportunities that she was denied. She was raised to believe--and still presses her daughters to believe--that the role of women is to sew, look pretty, and stay virginal until their parents arrange their marriages.

As the film begins, Ana's teacher comes to her home to talk about college, but is shooed away by her mother, who claims Ana wants to work in her older sister's dress factory. Ana wants nothing of the sort. She complains that the factory is a sweatshop, is appalled that nobody gets paid until orders are finished (which means lots of free labor for the clothing companies) and the women at the factory viciously insult her to her face--especially her mother. But when she tries to leave, her mother chases after her & claims that she can't go on without her because of her arthritis, her hearing trouble, and--despite the fact that she is clearly over 50--she is pregnant. Just how much of this is to be believed is up to the viewer, but Ana believes none of it.

As the film goes on, we see Ana grow up and forge an identity for herself despite her mother's machinations. But at the same time she comes to respect what goes on at the factory. And, oh yes, by the way, Ana and her mother are Latina, so this was marketed as an ethnic film. But ethnicity--in my opinion--is not so important to the film as family, and this is very much a film about mothers and daughters.

The film is not perfect. The scene that gives the movie its title smacks a bit too much of Lilith Fair, but it is a very moving, entertaining family drama. 8/10

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Real Women Make Great Movies

10/10
Author: Red-125 from Upstate New York
15 December 2002

"Real Women Have Curves" is an outstanding film about people who look and behave like real women and men.

Director Patricia Cardoso is one of the few directors who must have actually looked around at people on the street, and realized that very few of them --if any--resemble the stars of movies and TV.

She has filled the screen with characters you could --and probably would--meet if you were a Mexican- American living in Los Angeles.

The plot is not terribly creative--can/will a talented young woman take her scholarship and leave her family to study in New York City?

The good news is that the plot is the only hackneyed aspect of this movie. Characters act in surprising and unsuspected ways, but ways which--in retrospect--could indeed be what that character would do in that situation.

Very little is forced, very little is predictable-- except the outcome of the basic plot--and very little is thrown in because it must be thrown in.

Example--we see Ana writing her personal essay for her admission application to Columbia University. I would have bet $50.00 that we would then see someone (teacher, admissions director, mother, father) reading this essay and saying, "This is remarkable."

What is remarkable is that we never get this scene. Ana writes the essay, she gives the essay to her teacher, and that is the last we ever hear or see of the essay. Hard to believe, but true.

I thought America Ferrera was wonderful as Ana, and the rest of the cast was strong. (OK--the saintly teacher who believes in Ana is a bit much, but that is the writer's fault, not the actor's.)

When you add great music and great street scenes to great acting and great directing, you get a great movie. Not a blockbuster-- but truly a "don't miss" film.

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follow your dreams above the pull of family

10/10
Author: come2nyc from New York
7 December 2002

Wow, I was very much moved by the story. I identified with the guilt trips, the pull of family. I too broke away at least for awhile. I am still breaking way. I admire the lead in her drive to be true to her person. I don't understand how the picture and society in general approves of overeating. Here she feels it is her right to do so and be "fat." There are no health benefits in fat. All and all a great move with universal themes.

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refreshing

10/10
Author: olavito from brooklyn
25 November 2002

This movie was refreshing and enchanting. Not only is this a movie about women who never have starring roles, it is about LATINAS, heavy latinas at that, facing day-to-day challenges. The characters have so much depth to them - Ana's sister could generate her own series she has so much going on. I can't recommend this movie enough.

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Original and not-so version of ethnic-coming-of-age-genre

Author: noralee from Queens, NY
24 November 2002

"Real Women Have Curves" is being distributed by HBO, so I presume it will be on cable, but I felt it was important to plunk down hard cash solidarity to go out to see an ethnic girl coming-of-age movie.

While the title has led most of the reviewers to focus on the positive body image aspects of the story line, it really doesn't make any sense that the mother is constantly criticizing her daughter for her weight when every woman in the movie has curves (a late explanation about catching a husband?). The mother's exaggerated hypochondria is never really explained, but the actress is just a lot of fun as a constant, annoying foil. My audience of Latino girls of a broad range of ages got a kick out of the frequent switches to Spanish and roared at the depictions of the parents as crazily conservative.

I was more interested in how it compares to other such movies. As usual, the girl wants to go to college and the parents object (it's always amazing how TV shows and movies make it seem that scholarships to distant private colleges are easy to obtain, with no mention of cheaper, local public colleges as an alternative). The school year chronology about scholarship applications was so wrong here that I found it distracting, but at least she didn't want to be an artist like these usually semi-autobiographical movies do. As usual in most of these movies, she has a boyfriend outside her ethnic group (here a gringo).

While the central character is played by a charismatic actress so has gotten all the attention, I found her plainer, older sister (also with curves) a much more interesting character, as it turns out the reason the family is objecting to college is not just money, not sexism, not conservatism - but because they are all pitching in trying to help the older sister's dream come true of having a successful dress design and sewing business (that the younger disparages as "a sweat shop for Bloomingdales.") Family businesses are little explored in movies and have tremendous dramatic potential that this uses a bit.

The sister is the one with artistic dreams who really does seem to have the skills to be an entrepreneur despite all what's lined up against her. So it was unnecessary to throw in a really nasty Jewish woman character as her nemesis; the schmata trade is a cutthroat business without having to stoop to stereotypes, as instead of her sarcastically saying "I know a woman like me is supposed to help a woman like you," she probably would have referred her contractor to a factor for a loan.

The soundtrack is full of interesting Latin rock, including Ozomatli and Los Aterciopelados.

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Above Average

8/10
Author: moviegoer528 from Fairfax, VA
19 November 2002

While the acting by the entire cast was alone worth the price of admission, the laughs were enjoyable and not as forced as they were in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding", and the relationships between Ana and her family members were beautifully complex, there was something missing in the outcome of the plot. It would have been better fitting for Ana to write her college essay on the sweat-shop that her sister operated and the lives of the women who worked there instead of the audience never finding out what it was on. That way, justice would be served and we'd know exactly why she was chosen to go to Columbia University for her full scholarship.. overall "Real Women Have Curves" was enjoyable though, and if you havent seen it, its definitely not one to miss.

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a true latino film

Author: nabcx5 from los angeles, california
17 November 2002

this film gives a true look into the hierarchy of a latino family. This is how most latino kids grow up. without luxuary. i loved how to a certain point ana was never embarrassed by where and how she lived. not many films show a latino woman who is not a maid, housekeeper, nanny, etc. although the women in the garcia family worked in a factory estella owned that factory and ana went on to a good 4 year school. this is the side of latinas not many people see. nothing felt cliched in this film. it felt as though i was getting a sneak look at a latino family.

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