|Index||4 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It was a great film about a Jewish Latina girl from Miami who is really smart. She was on the debate team in high school where she got noticed by the coach at Harvard. She had a traumatic experience when she was raped by an opposing debater at a party. She then went on to Harvard where she got her first boyfriend. Her family didn't approve because he was not Jewish. She went down hill from there, missing practices and debates until she was kicked off the team. She then caught her boyfriend cheating on her and later started dating an old friend who was Jewish and Latino which was good for her. By her senior year in college she decided to try to go back to debate and she talked her way back onto the team. She won nationals while confronting her rapist in the final competition. Then her boyfriend proposed to her, but she refused and debated with him about how she didn't want to give up her dreams to follow him and that she didn't want the life her mother had. But later she figures out that that life is not that bad and she wants to marry him in the end, but it doesn't show whether he said yes or not. I don't think I did a very good job of explaining what this movie is about, but it was very well done and I enjoyed it a lot.
As a debater myself, I was intrigued when the local Cinevegas film
festival was debuting a movie about debate. And here are my thoughts: I
thought Thanks to Gravity did a great job of depicting debate in a more
global setting. The writer/producer (Jessica Kavana-Dornbusch) was a
former debater herself and I think she found a good middle-ground for
the general public to follow along and for someone like me to think it
was a somewhat accurate portrayal. Maybe it's me being selfish and
wanting everyone to know what debate is, but this film felt at home
I think this is the first film to depict women in the male-dominated activity of policy debate (referred to as team debate in the film), which is welcoming because the guy/girl ratio is about 4:1 these days. It also did a good job of depicting women finding themselves in general. Also the racial subplot of the main character being a Latina-Jew was interesting, and while the movie could have definitely expanded on that subplot, it did a good enough job of exposing my friend and I to that culture.
The cast while mostly unfamiliar to many excluding a few headliners like Sean Austin (LOTR) had great on-screen chemistry, whatever that is supposed to mean. The main actress, Gina Phillips, is not only breathtakingly beautiful but was well casted for her role. Overall, the movie also flowed well, which is one of my biggest complaints with movies these days, and I recommend it if you have a chance to see it.
Saw this at CineVegas yesterday, it was absolutely awful. Produced by a family member of one of the prominent Cinevegas sponsors, this film is a testament to mediocrity. The film picks up and drops off story lines like dirty laundry, and not a single character is believable. Sean Astin plays a hippy debate coach to a 36 year old high school student, a cowboy runs the Harvard debate team, the Holocaust-surviving grandmother doesn't look a day over 50, and the filmmakers fill in holes in the plot with lines like "I forgot you went to Harvard," and "I forgot you played soccer." This "amateur hour" production is definitely worth missing.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Jordan (Gina Philips) is a senior in high school in the Miami area. Her background as a Hispanic and Jewish young lady has upset her at times, for tradition is very big in her family. In fact, her parents hope that she will marry a young Jewish Latino male and set her up on many blind dates. None go well. This is in part because Jordan is a top-echelon member of her school's debate team and this consumes a great deal of her time. After one grueling "match", Jordan is amazed to find that a handsome, non-Jewish boy, Alex, from another team asks her out. Unbelievably, this guy date-rapes Jordan and she doesn't tell anyone! Its unclear whether culture, trauma or shame is the reason she can't tell a soul. With tremendous fortitude, she goes on and everyone, especially her debate teacher (Sean Astin) is thrilled when Jordan gets accepted to Harvard. The department head, a Southern, cowboy-hat wearing professor, handpicked her. Things start off well, for Jordan has wanted to see the world and take a break from her heritage. She also makes friends with her lesbian roommate. But, bad luck, she soon catches the eye of a good-looking student, Chris (Bryan Greenberg) and falls for him. He's a gentile and her passion for him makes her stray away from her studies. All too soon, she is kicked off the nationally recognized debate team, although she remains a student. Not long after this, she discovers Chris' infidelity, so its double whammy time. Flashing forward two years, Jordan reconnects with a blind date from her past. He is Elias (Adam Rodriquez), a medical student who she sees as a friend. However, Elias showers her with flowers and affection and soon, they are legitimately dating. She even feels comfortable enough with him to uncover the terrible secret of her long ago rape. Jordan also begs her way back onto the debate team to compete at the national tournament. But, two problems arise. One, will Elias ever see her in a different fashion from a traditional wife and mother for their future? Also, most tragically, Jordan finds that she has to debate Alex in the final round of the tournament. How can she face him without fear? This, as any reader can see, is a most unusual film. It has a handful of sensitive issues to put forth and, yet, is still a romance, too. Philips is excellent as the main character, a lady with dreams of more than being a Latina, Jewish, stay-at-home mother. Yet, she does want to hold onto her traditions, too. The rape topic is one that will upset viewers, for many will feel that Jordan should have brought Alex to justice. The rest of the cast is mighty fine, too. Both locales, Miami and Cambridge, are shown to perfection in beauty while the script is an intelligent, thought-provoking look at a world most viewers won't know. Any film fan who is drawn to strong female heroines who still let romance into their lives will, no debate, like this movie.
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