offoffoff film
 RELATED PROJECTS

      







 ADVERTISEMENT













Site links
  • OFFOFFOFF Home
  • About OFFOFFOFF
  • Contact us

    Get our newsletter:
     
    Search the site:
     

    Film section
  • Film main page
  • Film archive
  • Audio index
  • Film links


    Top 10 lists


  • Top 10 films of 2004
    (Andrea, David, Joshua, Leslie)
  • Top 10 films of 2003
    (Andrea, David, Joshua, Leslie)
  • Top 10 films of 2002
  • Top 10 films of 2001
  • Top 10 films of 2000
  • Top 10 films of 1999
  •  All of our top 10 lists, 1999 - 2004

    Current movies


  • Afterschool
  • Antichrist
  • Babies
  • Broken Embraces
  • Dare
  • District 9
  • The End of Poverty?
  • Fix
  • Food Beware
  • The Men Who Stare at Goats
  • Pirate Radio
  • Precious
  • Red Cliff
  • The September Issue

    Festivals


  • Brooklyn International Film Festival
  • Human Rights Watch Film Festival
  • New York Film Festival

    Archive


    Complete archive

    Recent reviews:
  • (500) Days of Summer
  • Anita O'Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer
  • The Art of the Steal
  • The Beetle
  • Blessed is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh
  • Boy A
  • Brideshead Revisited
  • The Brothers Bloom
  • Burn After Reading
  • Cold Souls
  • The Duchess
  • Elegy
  • Enlighten Up! A Skeptic's Journey Into the World of Yoga
  • Five Minutes of Heaven
  • Flame and Citron
  • Frozen River
  • Happy-Go-Lucky
  • How to Lose Friends & Alienate People
  • The Human Condition
  • Hunger
  • Inglourious Basterds
  • King of Shadows
  • The Lemon Tree
  • Lorna's Silence
  • A Man Named Pearl
  • Man on Wire
  • Memorial Day
  • Mister Foe
  • Morning Light
  • My F├╝hrer
  • My One and Only
  • Paris
  • The Pervert's Guide to Cinema
  • Peter and Vandy
  • Police, Adjective
  • Pray the Devil Back to Hell
  • Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind
  • Rachel Getting Married
  • A Secret
  • Sleep Dealer
  • St. Trinian's
  • Thirst
  • Throw Down Your Heart
  • Valentino: The Last Emperor
  • What's the Matter with Kansas?
  • Wild Grass
  • Jay DiPietro

  •  REVIEW: REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES

      Real Women Have Curves
    Natural child-girth

    Real movies have characters, but not the fat-empowerment teen drama "Real Women Have Curves" — a big crowd-pleaser at Sundance but a fiasco of dopey characters and clumsy script.

    By JOSHUA TANZER
    Offoffoff.com


    (Originally reviewed at the 2002 New Directors New Films festival.)

    "Real Women Have Curves" impressed nearly everybody at Sundance, winning the audience award and raves from festivalgoers except for a couple of real women whose opinions I trust — and trust even more after seeing it myself. The film scores PC points for glorifying women of all shapes and sizes but it is a poorly written mess.

    REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES
    Directed by: Patricia Cardoso.
    Written by: Josefina Lopez, George LaVoo.
    Cast: America Ferrera, Lupe Ontiveros, Ingrid Oliu, George Lopez, Brian Sites, Soledad St. Hilaire, Lourdes Perez, Jorge Cervera Jr., Felipe de Alba, Jose Gerardo Zamora Jr., Edgar Lujan, Lina Acosta..
     RELATED ARTICLES
    New Directors New Films 2002
  • Overview
  • Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner)
  • El Bola
  • Delbaran
  • Jeunesse Doree
  • Orphan of Anyang
  • Real Women Have Curves
  • The Slaughter Rule
  • 2001 festival
  •   
    We first see our heroine, the curvaceous Mexican-American teenager Ana (America Ferrera), on her last day of school as her classmates take turns telling the teacher what prestigious universities they'll be attending in the fall. Um, I think I'm going to travel around Europe, says Ana for the sake of having something to say.

    She triumphantly quits her fast-food job after school and goes home to the clutches of her vicious mother (Lupe Ontiveros) who insists that she's going to work the next morning at "Estela's Fashion Design," her sister's small garment factory. Thus begins the rest of Ana's life.

    It is in the exploitative factory and the oppressive home that Ana learns to stand up for herself as a woman, a worker and a pudgy person. "Don't get your hopes up," her sister tells her as she admires a dress bound for Bloomingdale's. "You'll never get into that one. It's a size seven." But her sense of rebellion against the tyrrany of small dress sizes leads to an outrageously empowering worker uprising, of sorts, which must be the scene that had the Sundance crowds buzzing.

      
      Mr. Guzman mentions that he's "friendly with the dean of admissions at Columbia University" and might be able to get her in there several months after the deadline if she'll just fill out the forms. This is the George W. Bush moral universe.
      
    There are a few nicely handled moments in "Real Women Have Curves," like a conciliatory conversation between the mother and daughter over a guilt-inducing piece of flan. But much of the dialogue is trite, predictable and unreal — with an effect somewhere between agitprop and the old "After School Special."

    But worse than this, writers Josefina Lopez and George LaVoo have no idea what their characters are made of inside, and this is nowhere more obvious than in Ana's college application story. After allegedly discussing college applications all year with her kindly teacher Mr. Guzman (George Lopez), she hasn't lifted a finger to fill one out, which is strange enough. But even more ridiculous, Mr. Guzman mentions that he's "friendly with the dean of admissions at Columbia University" and might be able to get her in there several months after the deadline if she'll just fill out the forms. This is the George W. Bush moral universe.

    When she brings in her application, she hasn't completed the personal essay ("I didn't think it was important," explains this allegedly intelligent girl after a year of coaching), so she's sent back home to write it. If nowhere else, this is the device that should show what Ana is made of — her soul-searching, her history, her spirit, her individuality should all go into this all-important personal statement. So do we finally get a glimpse into her true character? No, we merely see her sitting in the backyard one day with a notebook, and then she dutifully hands it in to the teacher. No sweat. What it actually says, and says about her, is inconsequential. "We didn't think it was important," we can imagine the filmmakers saying.

    I would hate to give away the all-too-predictable outcome of this dopey effort, but when it comes, it is of course accompanied by a full scholarship. In the film's parallel reality, you can be a complete screwup but somebody will use connections to save you at the last minute. It's the fat envelope ex machina.

    I even have misgivings about the film's basic message that fat is beautiful, and the filmmakers virtually admit that they do too. The fat-empowerment scene in the factory is the film's centerpiece and leaves the most lasting impression on the audience. But it comes shortly after what may be the film's real key moment. Angrily chasing Ana out of the factory, her mother makes it half a block before collapsing right on the street because she's so out of shape. Americans, noticeably the world's most obese people and from a shockingly early age, should be proud of their inner persons, sure, but they need to be a lot healthier than they are. And "Real Women Have Curves" fails miserably to show that its heroines are healthy either outside or inside.

    MARCH 21, 2002
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK


    Reader comments on Real Women Have Curves:

  • Real Women Aren't Bores...   from Anita Guerrero, Jun 8, 2002
  • real women are fat   from robert, Dec 25, 2004
  • i know how you feel   from sarah, Aug 16, 2002
  • Re: i know how you feel   from deborah, Oct 7, 2002
  • Re: i know how you feel   from gabby, Oct 9, 2002
  • Re: i know how you feel   from Elizabeth, Mar 23, 2003
  • Re: i know how you feel   from Cecilia, Apr 20, 2003
  • Re: i know how you feel   from Rebecca, Oct 13, 2002
  • Re: i know how you feel   from Catalina, Oct 14, 2002
  • Re: i know how you feel   from Maria, Oct 31, 2002
  • Re: i know how you feel   from Leticia, Dec 24, 2002
  • Re: i know how you feel   from nacidosparatriunfar2002@hotmai, Nov 29, 2002
  • Re: i know how you feel   from Sal R, May 6, 2011
  • Re: i know how you feel   from GARINA, Oct 13, 2002
  • Re: i know how you feel   from Katherine, Jun 6, 2003
  • Re: real women have curves   from epc, Nov 29, 2002
  • Re: real women have curves   from Angela Mendoza, May 6, 2011
  • Ana is Fat ?   from Gary Hiel, Aug 3, 2003
  • Re: Ana is Fat ?   from Shaedeecat, Oct 3, 2003
  • Real Women Have Curves   from patricia torres, Aug 23, 2002
  • Re: Real Women Have Curves   from Xicana X, Sep 23, 2002
  • comments from patricia torres pt   from ray, Oct 13, 2002
  • Re: comments from patricia torres pt   from Jon One, Oct 14, 2002
  • Re: comments from Jon One   from Billi, Oct 18, 2002
  • Re: Real Women Have Curves   from chris, Nov 18, 2002
  • [no subject]   from Andrea, Oct 7, 2002
  • REAL WOMEN HAVE MUSCLES! NOT FAT!   from garina, Oct 13, 2002
  • Re: REAL WOMEN HAVE MUSCLES! NOT FAT!   from T, Oct 25, 2002
  • Re: REAL WOMEN HAVE MUSCLES! NOT FAT!   from Cassie, Nov 14, 2002
  • this sucks   from Jesse, Oct 7, 2002
  • Re: this sucks   from Cecilia, Apr 20, 2003
  • :)   from R, Oct 9, 2002
  • Real Women Have Curves   from Alejandro Hernandez-Siegel, Oct 9, 2002
  • Re: Real Women Have Curves   from Jon One, Oct 14, 2002
  • Curvas curvas CURVAS!   from El Chingon!, Oct 11, 2002
  • "Real Women Aren't Fat"   from garina martinez, Oct 13, 2002
  • to Garina   from Catalina, Oct 14, 2002
  • I liked this movie(note: Not Latina)   from spiderman, Oct 16, 2002
  • I lliked the movie (latina)   from linda (ortaga) strong, Oct 20, 2002
  • Re: \ Your opinion   from Joy Rivera, Oct 14, 2002
  • Re: \\ Your opinion   from Danny Moore, Oct 16, 2002
  • Re: \\ Garina   from , Oct 16, 2002
  • Re: \\\\ Garina   from Maria, Oct 17, 2002
  • Re: Garina   from el rey de tejas, Nov 7, 2002
  • Re: Your opinion   from Michael O'Marah, May 11, 2011
  • Re: \   from rex, Oct 17, 2002
  • intelligent   from Amanda, Oct 18, 2002
  • Re: [no subject]   from Amanda, Oct 23, 2002
  • Re: \   from anonymous, Oct 26, 2002
  • Re: \   from Nan, Oct 28, 2002
  • Re: \   from Maria, Oct 31, 2002
  • Re: Garina   from Melissa, Nov 4, 2002
  • Re: [no subject]   from Maria, Mar 12, 2003
  • Re: Real Women arent Fat   from jessica, Mar 24, 2003
  • Re: "Real Women Aren't Fat"   from java_meg, May 6, 2011
  • want to see this movie!!   from ray, Oct 14, 2002
  • The real issue   from anonymous, Oct 21, 2002
  • Re: The real issue   from carlos, Oct 23, 2002
  • Re: The real issue   from , Oct 23, 2002
  • Re: The real issue   from Mongrel, Oct 26, 2002
  • Great Movie   from Mady, Oct 31, 2002
  • Skinny people are not all that!!   from annoyed, Oct 23, 2002
  • Re: Skinny people are not all that!!   from also annoyed, Oct 26, 2002
  • Please Read   from jessica, Oct 28, 2002
  • Don't Believe The Hype!   from Erin G., Oct 24, 2002
  • a stupidity of a movie   from , Oct 29, 2002
  • Re: a stupidity of a movie   from MariTere, Oct 31, 2002
  • Re: a stupidity of a movie   from Freya, Nov 11, 2002
  • Re: a stupidity of a movie   from Nonie, Mar 19, 2003
  • Re: a stupidity of a movie   from carl, May 9, 2003
  • Re: a stupidity of a movie   from Chango, Apr 20, 2011
  • a movie with a great lesson to young people   from nicole, Nov 13, 2002
  • Fat Fools   from Ja, Nov 15, 2002
  • Real Women, Remarkable   from Gerardo, Dec 16, 2002
  • IT IS NOT ABOUT WEIGHT, IT IS MUCH MUCH MORE   from Cecilia, Apr 20, 2003
  • Re: Real Women, Remarkable   from Ash, May 27, 2003
  • Fat Irony   from jozefimrich, Apr 26, 2003
  • This is a good film!!!!   from woodie, May 15, 2003
  • my own thoughts   from Ash, May 27, 2003
  • Not all Real Women are curvy!!   from Shaedeecat, Sep 12, 2003
  • Re: Not all Real Women are curvy!!   from Galadriel, Oct 9, 2003
  • I like the chubby chick   from Frank, Sep 15, 2003
  • Re: I like the chubby chick   from mike, Jan 7, 2004
  • awsome movie   from melissa, Oct 9, 2003
  • I'm reall tired of this Fat-Thin War!   from Galadriel, Oct 9, 2003
  • Ho Hum!   from Shadrach, Oct 13, 2003
  • Ana Vs. The World   from Damian, Oct 25, 2003
  • oh Please!   from Mrs. Smith, Oct 30, 2003
  • anyway, about the movie...   from Laine, Apr 21, 2004
  • I Love Women With Curves   from John, Jan 16, 2004
  • I love curvy women   from John, Jan 16, 2004
  • JL rocks!   from Eva, Nov 24, 2004
  • 5 years later   from mina, May 24, 2008
  • Ana's story is not that uncommon   from The Fonz, May 4, 2011
  • In my opinion...   from Aimee, May 4, 2011
  • I am part of the women have curves   from Veronica Villarreal, May 4, 2011
  • What I think tho   from Gigigi, May 6, 2011
  • real women   from big daddy , May 6, 2011
  • Real women? More like real lies.   from Jagj, May 6, 2011
  • A Chicana Coming of Age   from Marissa Hernandez, May 6, 2011
  • Magic Realism   from Steven Whiteside, May 6, 2011
  • sympathy   from jessn_chavez, May 6, 2011
  • [no subject]   from Tony, May 6, 2011
  • I appolgize for the spelling   from Steven Whiteside, May 15, 2011

  • Post a comment on "Real Women Have Curves"