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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Based on the book by Esmeralda Santiago, America is a story about a
young woman (same name) living in Vieques, P.R. She is constantly
physically, sexually and mentally abused by her husband Correa.
Determined to change her life and save her child, she decides to move
to New York where she will raise money working as a nanny and
eventually be able to send for her daughter.
Sonia Fritz has created an exceptional drama and has explored a character which many Puerto Rican women can relate to. The script was well thought out and well written (funny, fun and suspenseful) . Lymari Nadal portrays a strong, brave woman who refusing to continue a life of degradation and disrespect decides to start a new one.
The story takes place during the American Naval occupation of Vieques. During this 60 yr. time frame Vieques was bombed on an average of 180 days per year. In the last year (1998) the navy dropped 23,000 bombs on the island, most of them containing explosives. Since the navy left in 98 there have been many consequences due to radiation and toxic materials left behind: high cancer rates, high infant mortality etc. I loved how this was portrayed in the film. I also loved the constant use of symbolism to build character (scene where Correa squishes the iguana, the scene in the puppet show etc.), this was something i had never seen before in a P.R film.
America is truly a breath of fresh air for contemporary Puerto Rican cinema, an original voice finally calling out and finally a film that we can proudly call Puerto Rican.
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