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  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer ( )
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • English: Dolby Digital Stereo
    English, French, Spanish
  • 2 Audio commentary
  • 2 Featurette
  • Alternate ending

Real Women Have Curves

Warner Bros./Warner Home Video . R4 . COLOR . 86 mins . M15+ . PAL


A couple of years back I bought Kaz Cooke’s cartoon diatribe Real Beauty for someone I used to know. She thought it was so good she took it to school with her and started using it to teach young women about the evils of stereotypes in our society.

So too this film takes on the needlessly-skinny set and attempts to empower young women with a sense of self-esteem regardless of their size.

Ana Lourdes Magdalena Garcia doesn’t just have a big name, she’s got big bones. But she doesn’t care. She’s just trying to break out of the mould already cast for her in joining the family business. She wants to go to New York and study, but her mother thinks she’s too fat and must stay and work in her sister’s struggling clothing factory making skinny clothes for skinny people and trying to find a husband.

"¿Que Bonita?"

However, she’s got herself a boyfriend who loves her mind and couldn’t care less about her body, and a teacher who’s determined to see Ana receive a scholarship so as to afford college and flee the ordinary life laid out before her.

The themes here just don’t appear enough in modern cinema. While this film looks a little after-school-special, the overall moral is an important one. Our society has created so many mental monsters for young people to cope with, anything that can help swing the balance back again has gotta be good (do you think cavemen and women suffered anorexia?).

Performances are still great, regardless of the cheaper budget, and the film is an endearing and charming piece that will hopefully encourage young people (women in particular) to be okay with themselves. The characters are likeable, the story is of an everyday appeal in that everyone will be able to relate with these common issues and the overall presentation is very neat. The performance from America Ferrera as Ana is fantastic and wholly uninhibited. She is responsible for at least one award at the Sundance Film Festival in 2002 for her role here and deservedly so (the film won three overall).

This should be required viewing for young people everywhere as another nail in the coffin of society’s outmoded and flawed perceptions of how people should look.


Not much to complain about here. The transfer is superb with colours being even and well saturated throughout, blacks appearing natural and no perceptible film artefacts. Flesh tones are great which extends to a wide variety in this film, being set in an Hispanic region of Los Angeles.

We are granted the full 1.85:1 cinema aspect ratio with 16:9 enhancement here and overall the film looks very appealing, having been shot beautifully.


Two versions appear here, in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround and stereo. Funnily enough, there is no Spanish version, although there are Spanish subtitles. A lot of the film fluctuates between Spanish and English as characters dodge in and out of both languages, but that’s OK as there are English subtitles that are burned in for those who can’t understand the lingo (like me).

The sound effects are interesting in that they are never really apparent. Although living in dense urban crowding, there are no background car noises or neighbourhood noises at all for the most part. This tends to lend the film an isolation not unfamiliar to all teenagers, as well as those who have left their own country for a life elsewhere.

There is little by way of a score, but what there is by Heitor Pereira is nice and cheerfully upbeat, as are the locally themed songs used as more of a mood gatherer than the score. This makes the film feel more hopeful and cheering and works well for the tale’s benefit.


There are quite a few given us here and these do add quite a lot to the overall value. The first is in dual audio commentaries by America Ferrara and Lupe Ontiveros who play the lead Ana and her mother Carmen. America has a lot to say about her role and this is very interesting and informative. Of note is that the director was due to be recorded with them watching the film, but had to go and give birth that day.

The second AC features our director Patricia Cardosa apparently after delivery with Josefina Lopez the original playwright and co-author of the screenplay plus George LaVoo the producer and other co-author of the screenplay. These three are entirely honest and share a good camaraderie that makes the stories they tell seem friendly and warm, while also sharing some nice facts about production.

An additional scene is actually an alternate ending in slapping on an epilogue of sorts. This runs for 4:02 and is well worth the watching. A featurette running for 8:22 follows and this includes some nice interviews with major cast and crew plus film footage in the usual manner of a making of.

Another featurette follows, but if you don’t speak Spanish you’re stuffed. There are no subtitles and it is billed as Spanish Only, so that’s fair enough. This was obviously made for the HBO network as it runs under HBO Latino and features a lot of the same stuff as our other featurette.

So there’s a fair old bunch of stuff there to wade through with some nice quality over quantity.


While starting a little slowly, the characters do warm the film up so by the end we’re keen to know what’s going to happen next. America Ferrera is superb in her role as Ana here and I predict this won’t be the last we see of her by any means.

There are plenty of vitally important messages here for young women (although a few young men could learn a thing or two as well) that need to be heard and continue to be heard if we are ever to enact changes for the benefit of all.

It’s good fun, there are some genuinely funny moments and a great soundtrack adding to an overall quality budget-made film that has been treated lovingly in the transfer as part of the Warner Brothers Home Cinema Collection.

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      And I quote...
    "A quality budget-made film with genuine heart and an important message for young women in particular."
    - Jules Faber
      Review Equipment
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    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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