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Real Women Have Curves (2002)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama | 8 November 2002 (USA)
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This is the story of Ana, a first generation Mexican-American teenager on the verge of becoming a woman. She lives in the predominately Latino community of East Los Angeles. Freshly ... See full summary »


Patricia Cardoso


Josefina Lopez (play), George LaVoo (teleplay) | 1 more credit »
7 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
America Ferrera ... Ana Garcia
Lupe Ontiveros ... Carmen Garcia
Ingrid Oliu Ingrid Oliu ... Estela Garcia
George Lopez ... Mr. Guzman
Brian Sites ... Jimmy
Soledad St. Hilaire ... Pancha
Lourdes Perez Nido Lourdes Perez Nido ... Rosali (as Lourdes Perez)
Jorge Cervera Jr. Jorge Cervera Jr. ... Raúl Garcia
Felipe de Alba Felipe de Alba ... Grandfather
José Gerardo Zamora Jr. José Gerardo Zamora Jr. ... Juan José
Edgar Lujan Edgar Lujan ... Juan Martin
Lina Acosta ... Norma
Celina Belizan Celina Belizan ... Glitz Receptionist (as Celina Belazin)
Ramona Garcia Coronado Ramona Garcia Coronado ... Singing Woman
Marlene Forte ... Mrs. Glass


This is the story of Ana, a first generation Mexican-American teenager on the verge of becoming a woman. She lives in the predominately Latino community of East Los Angeles. Freshly graduated from high school, Ana receives a full scholarship to Columbia University. Her very traditional, old-world parents feel that now is the time for Ana to help provide for the family, not the time for college. Torn between her mainstream ambitions and her cultural heritage she agrees to work with her mother at her sister's downtown LA sewing factory. Over the summer she learns to admire the hardworking team of women who teach her solidarity and teamwork. Still at odds with what her mother expects of her, Ana realizes that leaving home to continue her education is essential to finding her place proudly in the world as an American and Chicana. Written by smbuvideo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Real women take chances, have flaws, embrace life...


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sexual content and some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »





English | Spanish

Release Date:

8 November 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Echte Frauen haben Kurven See more »


Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$183,772, 20 October 2002, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$5,844,929, 30 March 2003
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The producers put out a casting call for girls who were "fat" or "overweight", and had thousands of girls show up who were clearly not fat or overweight, but all thought that they were. See more »


When Ana leaves the house with her grandfather for her date with Jimmy, her hair is straight. When she arrives at the restaurant, her hair is curled. See more »


Carmen: [In Spanish] It's a matter of principle. It's not fair. I worked since I was 13 years old and Ana is 18 years old. Now it's her turn.
See more »


Featured in The 2003 IFP Independent Spirit Awards (2003) See more »


La Niña
Written by Paul Cohen and Lila Downs
Performed by Lila Downs
Courtesy of Virgin Records America and Narada Productions
See more »

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User Reviews

endearing slice-of-life drama
26 May 2003 | by Buddy-51See all my reviews

`Real Women Have Curves' feels a bit like a modern ethnic version of `Georgy Girl,' featuring a free-spirited young woman named Ana who doesn't quite fit the mold of what society believes a woman should look like.

Ana is a somewhat `overweight' high school senior living in East LA who has dreams of being the first person in her family to go to college. Her parents, however, have other plans for her life, which basically involve marriage, motherhood and a job working in her older sister's dress factory. Ana faces the struggle common to many young people who happen to be first-generation Americans: should she conform to the old-fashioned customs and traditions of her family or should she set out to make it on her own with all the advantages and opportunities available to people in this society? `Real Women Have Curves' avoids becoming a culture clash cliché through its keen observation of the minutiae of everyday life. Unlike most films, `Real Women' actually explores the day-to-day struggles of the working class in this country. The people in this film worry about whether or not they will be able to make a go of their businesses, whether or not their bills will get paid, whether or not a promising young student will be allowed to go to college and make something of herself or just end up as a cog in the system that absorbs so many of the underclass. It's these slice-of-life details that make the film interesting.

Ana's main foil is her own mother, who believes not only that her daughter is overweight and, thereby, ruining her chances to make an acceptable marriage, but that she must forego college in order to help with the family business. The majority of the conflict in the film occurs between these two women, both equally hardheaded, moody and determined to get what they want. America Ferrara as Ana, Lupe Ontiveras as her mother and Ingrid Oliu as Estela, her hardworking, levelheaded sister, create characters who are believable, subtle and instantly recognizable. Writers Josefina Lopez and George LaVoo have a sharp ear for the way people actually speak. Director Patricia Cardoso doesn't try to impress us with fancy camera angles or clever cutting. Instead, she lets the story develop naturally, allowing us to eavesdrop on a milieu that may seem strange to some of us. Cardoso knows full well that the universal nature of what she is showing us will draw us into the story and these characters' lives. It's nice, too, to see a film in which the young people are spending their time trying to get into good colleges instead of indulging in all the high school hijinks and hoopla we usually see in more mainstream movies these days.

True, the movie does sacrifice some of its verisimilitude by trying a bit too hard to be a `feel good' experience. One occasionally senses a certain straining for the upbeat moral message, as when Ana convinces her coworkers to strip down to their undies in the factory as a statement about how women should not be ashamed of their bodies just because they aren't a size six. But the film more than makes up for that in the unconventional way in which it treats Ana's departure from her mother at the end.

`Real Women Have Curves' is a small movie but a universal one.

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