Real Women Have Curves (2002) - Rotten Tomatoes

Real Women Have Curves2002

Real Women Have Curves (2002)



Critic Consensus: Real Women Have Curves, physical as well as emotional -- and this coming-of-age story traces them in a vividly warm-hearted look at the Mexican-American experience.

Real Women Have Curves Photos

Movie Info

Ana, a first generation Mexican American teenager living in East Los Angeles, has just graduated from high school. Because she is a talented writer, a caring teacher urges her to apply to college. Ana secretly is excited about the possibility, but her overbearing and hypercritical mother, Carmen, insists that it is time for her to help provide for the family by working in her sister's sewing factory. When a crisis arises at the factory, it seems as if Ana's fate is unhappily sealed, but her indomitable will to reach beyond sweatshop life eventually leads her to burst, defiant and resplendent, through every restriction on her life.

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George Lopez
as Mr. Guzman
Jorge Cervera Jr.
as Raul Garcia
Felipe de Alba
as Grandfather
Manuel Edgar Lujan
as Juan Martin
Celina Belazin
as Glitz Receptionist
Marlene Forte
as Mrs. Glass
Jimmy Ishida
as Landlord
Pete Leal
as Dr. Lopez
Esmerelda McQuillan
as Pharmacy Attendant
Sandie Torres
as Dona Carlota
Dale Turner
as Policeman
Julia Vera
as Dona Gorgonia
Lisa Guzman
as Girl No.1
Lackey Bevis
as Girl No.2
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Critic Reviews for Real Women Have Curves

All Critics (118) | Top Critics (44)

Newcomer Ferrera and the veteran Ontiveros (a legend in Latino acting circles) mesh wonderfully. Both exude energy, and their interactions appear relaxed and spontaneous.

September 9, 2021 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

It frequently doesn't work, but a number of other virtues compensate for the awkward stretches. Newcomer America Ferrera counts as one.

September 9, 2021 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Some pieces of the plot feel dishonest, others contrived, but this 2002 feature also has some nicely observed details and plenty of good messages.

September 9, 2021 | Full Review…

Ontiveros works hard to invest the stock nagging-mother role with humanity and sly humor Unfortunately, her character is far from the only clichéd element in the story. In fact, most of the movie has been assembled from spare parts.

September 9, 2021 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

A sincere but plodding rites-of-passage story.

September 9, 2021 | Full Review…

Real Women Have Curves, Patricia Cardoso's tale of a Mexican girl torn between a sweatshop job and a place in college, is a sharp antidote to the dead-on-arrival teen fantasy.

September 9, 2021 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Real Women Have Curves

A young woman rebels against her mother in order to gain independence and a better life. These days there is a lot of talk about the American Dream with politicians bandying about the term with little critical insight and the late, great George Carlin saying, "They call it that because you have to be asleep to believe it.;" But this is a film with its eyes wide open and a focused, almost myopic support of the possibilities that still remain for this nation's under-represented. America Ferrera's performance as a focused, determined woman who is torn by her tradition-worshiping mother and her dreams of going to college is quite strong, and we quickly gain an admiring respect for the character as Ferrera embodies her. Likewise, the antagonist, played by Lupe Ontiveros, is believable as being able to combine love, fear, and manipulation in a single action. These are two fine actresses giving strong performances. Though the film is able to celebrate women without demonizing men, there are nonetheless structural flaws. Director Patricia Cardoso tries to add Latin music to smooth out the film's transitions, but the scenes are unevenly short and episodic. Also, we never see much development in Ana's character. It is as though she either wakes up or starts the movie ready to give a school assembly speech to young girls about the importance of self-esteem, use of condoms, and higher education. Thus, she becomes a one-dimensional character and a mouthpiece for the director and screenwriters. Nothing she says is objectionable, but a film so invested in character should allow us more insight into her journey. Overall, there's no reason not to show this film to every teenager in the country, regardless of ethnicity or size, but there are many reasons not to show it in film school.

Jim Hunter
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer


I enjoyed the movie. It portrays the struggle of many first generation immigrants, although the mother's resistance to her daughter going to college is unusual. America Ferrera does a great job.

Red Lats
Red Lats

Super Reviewer

This film does what most other so-called "chick-flicks" couldn't do. It celebrates women without bashing men. Yes, the male roles are secondary, but they're all moral, upstanding, intelligent characters that are supportive of Ana. Real Women Have Curves may be intended primarily for female audiences, but it's one that guys can watch without feeling belittled or apologetic.

Randy Tippy
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

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