Review: Jack Foley | Rating:
THE temptation for men to rush to the cinema to see a film about
real womens curves will, no doubt, quickly diminish once
they discover that the curves in question have little to do with
the perfect figure - but rather coming to terms with
how you look, no matter how big or how small.
Yet to dismiss Patricia Cardosos debut feature as a mere
chick flick would be somewhat remiss, as this jovial little movie
is as humorous and warm-hearted as they come, despite its apparently
Newcomer, America Ferrara, stars as Ana, a curvaceous 18-year-old
with a bright future ahead of her, who is forced to take a job
at her sisters dress-making factory by her over-bearing
mother, Carmen (Lupe Ontiveros), because she refuses to pay for
her college tuition.
Fed up and forced to work long hours in appalling conditions,
Ana soon finds herself at odds with her co-workers, while constantly
being put down by her mother for not being thin, but resolves
to fight back - eventually winning their admiration and encouraging
them to love every curve of their body and appreciate what makes
them different from everyone else.
Screen International predicted that women everywhere will
respond with cheers once they see the film, while it also
received the Sundance Film Festival 2002 Audience Award and the
Special Jury Prize when it was featured last year. It is easy
to see why.
Cardosos film - which began life as a one-set, five-woman
play from author, Josefina Lopez - has a big heart and is packed
with wry observations about the image-obsessed state of modern
society. Yet while the jokes fly thick and fast, they seldom resort
to the obvious and the film never becomes too preachy, shying
away from the type of gloopy sentiment which dogs so many of Hollywoods
more expensive message movies.
And in Ferrara and Ontiveros, it also boasts a couple of immensely
absorbing lead performances, the type of which make it easy for
audiences to care about what happens.
The relationship between mother and daughter is very well played,
flitting between love and hate, and acceptance and denial, with
ease. Where Ferrara is feisty and outspoken, Ontiveros is bitter
and defeated and the two provide a volatile double act, which
tip-toes a think line between love and hate.
Ontiveros is certain to test the audiences patience with her
moaning/scheming/domineering turn, while Ferrara is simply terrific
as the put-upon Ana, whose dream of making it to New York and
providing a better life for herself is something she refuses to
let go of.
Real Women Have Curves may, ultimately, appeal to female audiences
more than males, but its charm is such that everyone can
enjoy it - even though the site of some fairly big women stripping
down to their skimpies for the movies finale may have most
men running from the auditorium in search of the latest copy of
Maxim or FHM!