Real Women Have Curves


Top 20% of all time (see others with this rank)

Festival Year

2002 (click here to see all competition films from this year)


Dramatic Competition


America Ferrera, Lupe Ontiveros, Ingrid Oliu, Brian Sites, George Lopez

Non-Cast Credits

Patricia Cardoso, George LaVoo, Effie T. Brown, Josefina Lopez, Jim Denault, Sloane Klevin, Brigitte Broch


Curves on a blossoming young woman can be sexy, but not if you are told you have too many of them. Real Women Have Curves is a humorous and warmhearted look at a Mexican American teenage girl coming of age in a boiling cauldron of cultural expectations, class constrictions, family duty, and her own personal aspirations. In this auspicious debut, Patricia Cardoso gives us a cast of characters we very rarely see�working class Latina women�with refreshing human complexity.

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 hyper-critical mother, Carmen, insists that it is time for her to help provide for the family by working in her sister's sewing factor. When a crisis arises at the factor, it seems as if Ana's fate is unhappily sealed, but her indomitable will to reach beyond a sweatshop life eventually leads her to burst, defiant and resplendent, through every restriction on her life.

America Ferrara and Lupe Ontiveros are wonderful as Ana and her mom as they deal with all of the unexpected curves life throws at them. Based on the play by Josephina Lopez, which is rooted in her own experience, Real Women Have Curves gives a fresh new voice to the yearnings of Chicana women struggling against insecurities to love themselves and find respect in the world.


Shari Frilot (see other films reviewed by the same reviewer)

Film Takes Pace.