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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Encourages gratitude and perseverance, as well as integrity in your personal and professional life.
Positive Role Models
Moreno is a talented, intelligent performer and a loving mother. She tells her truth about her personal and professional life. She overcomes a lot of prejudice, discrimination, sexual harassment.
Violence & Scariness
Moreno discusses being sexually harassed multiple times and being raped by her former agent. She also discusses a suicide attempt, as well as an unsafe abortion that led to complications. Movie clips include domestic violence and the scene of Anita being attacked by the Jets in West Side Story.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Discussion of how Moreno was seen as a sex object even as a young actor and how others expected her to be "sexy." A fairly candid conversation about her love affair with Marlon Brando and his infidelity.
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Occasional strong language includes "f--k," "s--t," "damn," "bitch," etc.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink at parties and meals.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It is a biographical documentary about the life and career of Rita Moreno, whose seven-decade career on stage and screen spans stereotypical roles as random "ethnic" supporting players to her Oscar-winning role in West Side Story to her re-emergence in One Day at a Time. The film features interviews with Moreno's many celebrity friends, including Lin-Manuel Miranda, Whoopi Goldberg, Morgan Freeman, and more. Movie clips include domestic violence and the scene of Anita being attacked by the Jets in West Side Story. Moreno and the interview subjects curse ("f--k," "s--t," etc.), but it's not frequent. More frequent is the frank discussion of sexual violence and sexual harassment in Hollywood: Moreno reveals her own related experiences, including being raped by a former agent as a young woman. She also talks about an unsafe abortion that she felt forced to have, as well as a suicide attempt. Families will be able to discuss Moreno's career highlights, her perseverance, and how much she had to overcome in the industry. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This is a candid, powerful profile of an extraordinary and pioneering performer whose influence and relevance has lasted more than 70 years. Neither Pérez Riera nor Moreno shy away from revealing the ugly truths of the storied actor's past: her tumultuous affair with the narcissistic Brando, her appalling experiences with handsy executives who thought of her as an exotic plaything, her rape by a trusted friend and agent, the secret challenges of what seemed like a perfect marriage, her internalized shame at having to play stereotypical women of color or ethnic characters with accents. It's all there in this insightful, revelatory, and riveting documentary. Pérez Riera impresses with the caliber of the interviewees she lined up, starting with Miranda, who considers Moreno a role model and friend. On-screen daughter Machado shares how delightful a diva Moreno was on set ("in the best way possible," she says). And Chakiris adds behind-the-scenes commentary about what it was like for him and Moreno to play the Oscar-winning roles of Bernardo and Anita together.
Despite all of the celebrity interviewees, it's Moreno herself who shines the brightest, who entertains, and who impacts audiences by telling her truth: remembering her parents and discussing the pivotal moments of her life both on and off the screen. Based on her enthusiasm (and dance moves), it's hard to believe that she's an octogenarian (she has just turned 87 in the documentary, which begins with her and her daughter getting ready for Moreno's annual themed/costumed birthday party). The year that the documentary covers is when Moreno was back in the news for her pitch-perfect portrayal of the glamorous, hilarious Abuela in the now canceled reboot of One Day at a Time, and the actress muses wisely that fame is ephemeral and unpredictable, so you can't take it so seriously that you lose track of yourself. One of the parts of the documentary that has the most impact is the discussion of racism and sexism in Hollywood. While the world has come a long way, it's dispiriting to be reminded that, many decades later, there's still so much discrimination in both general society and, specifically, the entertainment industry. This is a must-see for Moreno's fans and anyone interested in 20th-century history of Hollywood and the performing arts.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.