Maria Jose 'Majo' Tonorio is a tough LA street poet who spits from the heart. After meeting a talented DJ she cuts her first demo under the guidance of a small time hustler more interested in promoting Majo's sexuality than her lyrics. Soon a major label and its strong-arm executive come calling. Convinced that a record deal will deliver much needed money for the family, Majo is suddenly faced with some stark choices. Does she accept the deal and turn her back on the friends who got her to the precipice of success or does she let a golden opportunity slip away. Written by
A story that feels truly L.A. I know. I live here. I feel like this could be the story of people I know.
A strong story, beautifully, naturally, and powerfully acted. The filmmakers avoid over-dramatization and stereotypical archetypes except for a few instances for the sake of humor. It is beautifully shot, I think with a Red camera. Lighting is deftly natural. Excellent sound. Really good beats and lyrics. I was lucky to be at the ArcLight for a Q&A with the cast and crew. Gina Rodriquez (Filly Brown)threw a rap at us!
I knew nothing about this movie before I saw it, except that the singer Jenni Rivera, who died recently in a accident, had a role in it. Her role, though relatively small, is essential to the story and her performance was raw and powerful. I don't know her music...but she was excellent in this role.
While the entire cast was excellent...stand outs for me were: Rodriguez: Filly Brown...just an amazing multifaceted breakout effort. I wont say anything more about her because you need to see the movie to know how good she is.
Lou Diamond Phillips: In what I think is his best role in many years as Fillys father. I really feel like I know this character. He lives down the street from me over near Vermont. A little older, a little beaten- up by life, maybe spent some time inside...but proud, honest, ambitious, and hard as stone when life pokes him.
Chingo Bling: I cannot remember the characters name...but this is a cool cat. I swear I know this guy too. Everyone in LA who buys or sells anything knows a guy like this. His lines are so naturally (you might even say viscerally)delivered...that he feels real. You want to follow him around just to hear what he has to say. Really.
Chrissie Fit: Fillys little sister. Sexy, naive, vulnerable, Latina. Don't you just love that combo?
In the interest of full disclosure I want to say that I am an Anglo who loves Mexicans. I like the fire and the complications and the pride and the big laughs and the food. The Mexican Americans in my life have elevated it. Made it happier and more complex... and louder. L.A. is my home and my people are of all backgrounds...but the beat of this cities heart is a Latin beat and this movie lets you feel it.
So...no matter where you live, if you want to know a little bit about what if feels like to stay up late dancing and drinking on the east side....Filly Brown will show you around. Just don't #*%@ with her because that chick will mess you up.
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