Garcia Girls

So I just got back from the show after seeing How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer. I always try to see all movies with a Latino or Hispanic theme, or whatever else they claim to be. If the movie is good enough, I occasionally show it to my Spanish classes. The movie looked promising because it starred America Ferrera (Blanca) and Elizabeth Peña (Lolita), but it dragged on a little when they accurately depicted the small-town boredom of Somerton, Arizona. The scenes could have quickly summarized the boredom and then moved on to the next scene, but no, we, too, had to suffer as much boredom as the protagonists. However, I did like what we learned about the characters when camera focused on one character at a time in what appears to be a soliloquy without words. When we see Lolita as she drinks at home alone on a Saturday night, we learn a lot about her loneliness and we understand her a little better. These scenes revealed so much about Lolita as a person and other characters without any dialogue. The movie is about three generations of women, grandmother, mother, daughter, who happen to be Mexicanas and how they react to each other’s behavior. Doña Genoveva, the matriarch of the family, finally learns to enjoy life in her advanced years, much to the shock of her daughter and granddaughter.

The movie begins with some retired Mexican men discussing former cars and lovers. Throughout the movie, cars, SUVs, and pickups serve as vehicles that transport the protagonists toward romantic passion. After the opening scene, we see Doña Genoveva gathering her hidden savings throughout the house so she can buy a car. She wants to learn to drive even though she’s seventy years old, causing conflict with her daughter and creating a new friendship with her gardner, Don Pedro (played by Jorge Cervera, Jr., who played the father in Real Women Have Curves (also with America Ferrera). Coincidentally, he plays a Mexican landscaper in both movies, perhaps dooming himself to be forever stereotyped as the Mexican landscaper!).

Overall, the movie was very good in that all the characters learned something about themselves, but the action seemed to drag on much too long. For a movie with a Latino or Hispanic theme, it didn’t feel very Latino, Hispanic, or Mexican. Take away the occasional Spanish dialogue, the Mexican accents, and the Mexican-looking actors, and this movie could have been another non-descript American movie. Neither the characters nor the plot revealed or taught us much about cultural differences. I wouldn’t show this movie to my Spanish classes because it’s not as culturally educational, as, say, Real Women Have Curves.

What will the neighbors say?