Magdalena (Emily Rios) is the daughter of a Mexican-American
family who runs a storefront church in Echo Park, Los Angeles.
With her fifteenth-birthday approaching, all she can think
about is her boyfriend, her Quinceañera dress, and
the Hummer Limo she hopes will carry her on her special day.
a few months before the celebration, Magdalena falls pregnant.
As the elaborate preparations for her Quinceañera proceed,
it is only a matter of time before her religious father finds
out and rejects her.
out of her home, Magdalena moves in with great-great uncle
Tomas (Chalo Gonzalez). Already living with him is Carlos
(Jesse Garcia), Magdalena's cousin, a tough but handsome young
man who was thrown out by his parents, because of homosexuality.
back house rental where Tomas has lived happily for many years
is on a property that was recently purchased by an affluent
white gay couple (David W. Ross and Jason L. Wood) - pioneers
of gentrification in the neighborhood. Inevitably, worlds
collide when they become entangled in the lives of their tenants.
you watch something on screen, and it mirrors a lifestyle
which you are familiar with, it does not really matter which
part of the world the film originated from. That is also when
you connect with the movie wholeheartedly.
this film is set in Echo Park in Los Angeles where Latin Americans
reside, it touches on universal themes which you and I which
you and I living on this small island can feel for.
film is fundamentally about growing up, and the complications
that accompany it. The story sees a young girl approaching
her 15th birthday, and things may not be all sweet and blissful
when she finds herself pregnant, between wanting a pretty
Quinceanera (the traditionally important celebration for a
young girl on her 15th birthday) dress and a limousine on
her big day.
that with notions of homosexuality, racial tension and class
divide and you’d have a plot that is worthy of a rich
human drama. And the judging panel at 2006’s Sundance
Festival has rightly awarded the film with the Grand Jury
Prize, making it a favourite at film festival circuits everywhere.
Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland wrote the screenplay
for this charming movie, and it works because there is no
pretence, no contrived characters and no manufactured feel
throughout its entire running time. There is the school clique
which you once wished you belonged to. There is the boy-girl
relationship which meant everything to you. And there is the
perpetual family relationships which you probably took for
the centre of this movie as the young girl faced with a new
phase of life, Emily Rios plays this character with the right
amount of charm and authenticity without being over showy
and unnatural. Jesse Garcia plays her gay brother with a fresh
portrayal of a Latin homosexual, something we don’t
see in films a lot. The rest of the characters, ranging from
her religious father, her caring uncle and her selfish boyfriend,
are played by a reliable ensemble of unfamiliar faces.
is an advantage for a film like this too, because these people
are people we see around us. And having perfect-looking Hollywood
stars playing them isn’t exactly the most engaging way
for audiences to experience the film. In a world where we
are increasingly familiar with what we see on celluloid, big
names aren’t what we want to see in an earnest production
SPECIAL FEATURES :
This Code 3 disc contains no extra features.
We have no qualms about the visual transfer, and there is
an option of Spanish and English Dolby Digital 2.0 or 5.1.
by John Li