A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this drama about a troubled Latina who turns to dance as a way of finding direction in her life has positive messages about self-confidence and education, but they're sometimes overshadowed by family dysfunction and poor choices. Expect some strong language (including "s--t," "f--k," and Spanish curses), sexual imagery (though no nudity), arguments, and physical violence (including murder), drinking, and some drug use. The immigrant experience and racism are also briefly discussed.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Carmen Salgado (Aimee Garcia) is a troubled Latina junior college student with a bad attitude and a passion for hip-hop dance. She spends her days juggling school work, a job at a local bodega, practicing with a local dance crew, and hanging out at local underground dance clubs with her best friend Gina (Gina Rodriguez) and dance crew leader Loli (Jossara Jinaro). Despite her desire for some direction in her life, Carmen's insecurity keeps her from following teacher Frank Marin’s (Al Bandiero) advice to apply to a California arts college and contributes to her being distracted by her non-Latino boyfriend, Jared (Derrick Denicola). She also struggles with the traditional family dynamics that guide her working-class immigrant family, including her parents (Gustavo Mellado and Liliana Montenegro), adult brothers Jesse (Andres Perez-Molina) and Pablo (Louie Alegria), and little sister Cecy (Safia Hannin). But in the end, she realizes that she needs to find the inner strength to go after her dream.
Is it any good?
GO FOR IT! tells an all-too-familiar tale about a young woman turning to dance as a way of overcoming economic and social limitations. It’s a positive message, but thanks to some underdeveloped plot lines, viewers aren’t given the opportunity to get to know and be motivated by the movie's characters. Meanwhile, the film’s dance sequences, which are mostly choreographed battles between female crews, are both limited and over-edited.
Teen audiences may identify with some of Carmen's struggles, particularly when it comes to finding the courage to reach for a dream. Some will also be able to identify with her family’s struggle with the competing cultural values that often define the Latino experience and appreciate the context of the movie's messages about inner strength and the importance of getting an education. But overall, the film fails to exude enough positive energy and excitement to promote its messages in a way that's both gratifying and inspirational.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the movie's messages. Are they strong enough to come through despite the sometimes-iffy content? How do they compare to the messages in other dance-centric dramas you've seen?
What are some of the ways that the film addresses stereotypes? How do these stereotypes factor into the way that Carmen feels about herself and about the way she looks at the world? What about the way the world sees her?
Why do you think Carmen is often defensive and disrespectful? Why do you think Mr. Marin is interested in helping her?
- In theaters: May 14, 2011
- On DVD or streaming: September 27, 2011
- Cast: Aimee Garcia, Al Bandiero, Gina Rodriguez
- Director: Carmen Marron
- Studio: Pantelion
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 105 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: brief violence, sexual content, language, and drug material
- Last updated: November 11, 2020
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