Real Women Have Curves (1997)

In HBO and Newmarket Films production ‘Real Women Have Curves‘, Mexican/American teenager Ana (Ana Garcia later to become famous with ‘Ugly Betty‘), lives in the Latina quarter of western Los Angeles, trying to find her place between her working class family ethos, and her ambitions. When not in school, Ana is dragged to the family-run clothing factory to sew dresses all day long. One of Ana’s teachers encourages her to pursue further education, to the big distress of her envious mother Carmen (Lupe Ontiveres), who insists that her daughter follows in her footsteps.

A realistically portrayed teenager, Ana is not particularly likeable, with her moody sneers and eye rolls. Unbelievably lucky circumstance, in the form of a very supportive professor as well as an all-admiring and sweet boyfriend, support her in standing up for her values. Unfortunately, this shows a close unbelievable encouragement from outside the home as the main factor in helping Ana transcend her otherwise planned future in the sewing factory. This could indicate that Ana fully relies on outside (male) support in order to achieve the success she craves, which seems to defeat the idea of Ana being independently able to succeed through her own wits and talent. On the other hand, being a teenager, relying fully on her ability to be completely free and independent so soon might be asking too much; as the film underlines the importance of a supportive and involved educational system and community, this might be the most realistic depiction of a positive story of a young woman finding herself and breaking free.

This is a small scale independent drama production based on a play by the same name. The Mexican music is quite evident throughout the film, and the audience is in general treated with what seems like a genuine portrayal a Latin neighborhood. Director Patricia Cardoso, of Colombian origin, has made a couple of TV movies, directed tv-series episodes here and there, most recently an episode of Queen Sugar; she most recently directed a Colombian movie by the name El Pasao De Terease.