Cinema Consults: Real Women Have Curves

Lisa A.Tomaszewski

Physician's Money Digest, March31 2004, Volume 11, Issue 6

This film, which can be rented from your local video store, is rated on a scale of 1 to 4 caducei:

REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES

(2002): Sometimes it's the quiet little films that seem to have a big impact. This independent drama tells the story of an intelligent 18-year-old Latina, Ana (America Ferrera), who stands on the precipice of high school graduation and the future that looms before her. She is caught between the needs of her family, which are tied to the success of her sister Estella's (Ingrid Oliu) dress factory, and her own potential, which could be nurtured through a college education. The characters are frayed and their interactions are frustrated and very real. The relationship between Ana and her mother, Carmen (Lupe Ontiveros), is especially compelling in that this isn't your typical mother–daughter tension, but something deeper and even uglier. Ana's appearance is a point of contention between the two, and I know I was cheering for Ana and her continued willfulness, which is not to say that the character of Carmen isn't sympathetic in her own way as well. In the end, there are no easy answers or choices; for one person to succeed, another needs to suffer. I recommend that mothers and daughters gather around the television and enjoy this bittersweet story about accepting who you are physically and triumphing over obstacles mentally.

Rating: 3

Lisa A. Tomaszewski, managing editor of Physician's Money Digest, is currently working on her PhD in literature at Drew University in New Jersey. She is an avid fan of film and has taught a summer film course at Fairleigh Dickinson University. She welcomes questions, comments, or suggestions for future film reviews at 732-656-1140 ext 195 or ltomaszewski@mwc.com.