Girl in Progress stars the always captivating Eva Mendes and the beautiful and smart Cierra Ramirez. It’s a story with which so many people are familiar but rarely share. Grace, played by Mendes, is the drunken single mother of teenage Ansiedad, played by Ramirez. Grace was a child who had a child and hasn’t grown up herself. If anyone knows anything about this common situation, the child tends to be the one to raise the parent.
I didn’t know what to expect when I showed up for the prescreening at Hispanicize. Watching this funny and honest story was a surprise. I can only speak for my experiences but I think I’ve met Ansiedad before (her name is Spanish for anxiety). She is the brilliant student who knows more than enough to be dangerous to herself. She is a child of a parent who abuses alcohol and will either turn in to her mom or do anything to become the opposite. After getting fed up with Grace’s antics of never being there for her, treating her like the housekeeper and staying in an adulterous relationship, Ansiedad decides it’s time she ‘comes of age’ and leave her mom behind.
Her English teacher, played by Patricia Arquette, is teaching coming of age stories. Ansiedad takes these lessons and creates the ‘perfect plan’ to expedite adulthood and free herself of an objectionable childhood. This plan doesn’t come without consequences. She jeopardizes her innocence (what’s left), her friendships and her safety.
The movie doesn’t go without humor which is welcome to play down the seriousness of confrontation between friends and mother and daughter. The moral of the story mixed with cultural humor and grittiness is a bit unbalanced and left me questioning could this be a family-movie special gone rogue?
What I did like: 1. Moral of the story (I’m a sucker for good ones) 2. Enough Latino flair without it shouting ‘we get Latino culture!’ 3. The amazing work of Cierra Ramirez and Eva Mendes.
What I didn’t like: sometimes it moved too fast and the connection to a character feels cut short.
Fun fact: Both Cierra Ramirez and Raini Rodriguez (Ansiedad’s best friend) hail from Texas!
Other cast members are Eugenio Derbez (Grace’s Mexican co-worker), Matthew Modine (Grace’s married boyfriend) and Disney’s Raini Rodriguez (Ansiedad’s best friend). The movie is directed by Patricia Riggen, written by Hiram Martinez and distributed by Panetlion Films. Girl in Progress is set to be released on May 11, Mother’s Day weekend.
¿Qué Means What? did receive a free popcorn and free screening of this movie. All opinions are our own.