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Steven Michael Quezada,
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
How is it possible that this movie has a 2.5 rating right now?
Having gone to Sundance with a theology class and having viewed a ton of films, this was by far a favorite of the week. When I saw the current rating I felt compelled to share a brief snippet of what I got out of the film.
Honest, Authentic, Redemptive. This is a story about a young girl whose love for her mother drives her into the hustle of the underground Latin music industry. As she catches momentum and the attention of some big names, her integrity is put to the test.
What is most inspiring about the film are the family dynamics. It really portrays commitment to family, despite the lies, manipulation, and imperfection of the human condition. Majo (Gina Rodriguez) is committed to seeing her mother's life redeemed, despite the dissuasion of her immediate family members, and the latter discovery that she was duped into financially supporting her mother's expensive drug habit.
Gina Rodriguez's performance is gritty, strong, and powerful. She truly is the driving force of the film. We found out in the interview that followed the film that the actress went through months of training to learn the craft of rap and spoken word. You would never guess she isn't a natural.
The musical score is also helps to drive the storyline. We were blessed to have gotten some insight from the directors who explained the musical journey of the film was specifically planned to mirror what could be an authentic musical journey for a Latina in the music world. Majo starts out with slam poetry, turns to underground Latin rap, gets picked up by a major label and her music becomes over produced, and eventually finds her true voice.
However, I would venture to say that the music does more than just further the plot. The music follows the hero's journey towards authenticity, as she overcomes her fear of speaking the truth and steps into her identity as a daughter, sister, and friend. It also assists in revealing her calling to be an unabashedly truthful musical artist.
I am a mid twenties white female that does not listen to rap or hip hop music or have a interest in spoken word poetry. Not only did I find myself enjoying the music itself, but I was gripped by the universal truths in this film and felt myself relating to the situations and characters on a deeper level.
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