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Film / Real Women Have Curves

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I love you, that's why I'm making you miserable.
Carmem

Real Women Have Curves is a 2000 American comedy-drama film directed by Patricia Cardoso and starring America Ferrera.

The plot revolves around Ana García (Ferrera), a Mexican-American teenager who turns 18 by the start of the movie. She attends Beverly Hills High School, helps her sister Estela (Ingrid Oliu) in her dress factory and has to deal with her über-critical mother, Carmen (Lupe Ontiveros), who wants her to be more like Estela.

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This film provides examples of:

  • Artistic License – Animal Care: Carmen has parakeets in too small of a cage. She also lets them outdoors unsupervised, which isn't recommended since predators can still get to small birds even while caged.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Ana becomes more confident in herself and her body and inspires a similar change in her friends and family, and is getting to go to school in New York for a scholarship. However, this requires leaving her family behind in Los Angeles, and ultimately she does not reconcile with her mother before she leaves, and her mother is seen visibly upset when she realizes she missed her chance to say goodbye to her daughter before her departure.
  • Fat and Proud: the characters in this movie consider themselves beautiful even though they're fat.
  • Foreign Cuss Word: A lot of them. For instance:
    Carmen: You are a puta!
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  • Idealized Sex: Averted for Ana and Jimmy; it's handled like, well, two teenagers having sex for the first time. That said, it is very tender, affectionate, and good for Ana's self-image to have someone so genuinely attracted to her.
  • Miss Conception: Ana's mother mistakes menopause for a new pregnancy. While a simple misdiagnosis like this wouldn't normally fit the trope, Mama is sufficiently ignorant of her own biology that she needs her (male) doctor to explain what menopause is.
  • Parental Favoritism: Her mother often says that she'd like Ana to be more like Estela.
    • ...but for all that, Carmen doesn't really treat the dutiful Estela very well, either. As an employee at Estela's dress shop, she comes in late, distracts the other workers with gossip and talk about telenovelas, and undermines Estela's authority (probably already tenuous since it seems likely these women are all family friends who have known her since she was a baby) with dismissive little remarks: "Si, mi general."
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  • Reality Ensues: Carmen is so set in her ways that she ultimately does not reconcile with her daughter or give her a blessing before Ana leaves for New York.


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