America Ferrera, Real Women Have Curves

America Ferrera is a find as Ana, a self-possessed Mexican-American high school senior in East Los Angeles who gently, firmly negotiates independence from her close-knit working-class clan in Real Women Have Curves. This vibrant, welcoming family drama negotiates a kind of independence too: It’s refreshingly low on the kind of Cinema of Empowerment pedantry that often goes along with stories about ethnic families, sweatshop working conditions, or women confronting issues of weight and body image — and this little crowd-pleaser embraces all three.

Adapted from a play by Josefina Lopez into a straightforward, declarative script by Lopez and George LaVoo, and directed by Patricia Cardoso, ”Curves” rounds out the more obvious stage-scaled scenes with bright sketches of Mexican L.A. Brightest of all are the full-bodied performances of Ferrera and the wonderful Lupe Ontiveros (”Chuck & Buck”) as Ana’s fretful, workworn mother.

Real Women Have Curves
  • Movie
  • 86 minutes