How dare anybody try to tell me what I should look like, or what I should be, when there’s so much more to me than just my weight!
Real Women Have Curves, directed by Patricia Cardoso, was number 17 for my 52 Films by Women pledge. The title had put me off when I saw a copy, many years ago, at my local video store. But then I found a copy at Savers and figured I may as well pick it up, for $2, seeing as it was right there. And I’m glad that I looked past the title and did so, because this is a lovely little film.
America Ferrera is fantastic in the lead role as the frustrated Ana, torn between loyalty to her family and wanting to forge her own way in the world. Coming of age tales may not be anything new, but as they’re generally told by/from a white perspective it makes films like this not only important, but refreshing.
Ana is an easy character to relate to – she and I have many similarities (including our bodies) but we’re from quite different cultures. I enjoyed the scenes with her family, especially with her grandpa, but there are some very cute scenes with her boyfriend that I liked, too.
But the scene that really got me is when she confronts her mother in the factory about her body image double standards. When Ana strips down to her undies and says how she doesn’t really want to change, that there’s more to her than her body and her outward appearance, that she likes herself the way that she is, I practically cheered. The other women (except her mother) strip off too and it’s honestly one of the sweetest moments in the film, especially when Pancha says how beautiful they all are. It’s a very powerful scene, with a message that is still relevant, but it’s infused with humour that makes it heartwarming.
This is an engaging, funny and poignant film that’s well worth a watch.