Movie review by
Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media
Quinceanera Movie Poster Image
Smart coming-of-age drama for older teens.
  • R
  • 2006
  • 90 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Young people learn to cope with adults' dedication to tradition.


A young man is forcefully removed from a party (brief punching and pushing).


Magdalena is pregnant at 14, but has not had intercourse (the film provides a medical explanation for the phenomenon, using terms that include "vagina" and "sperm"). Brief mention of "gay porn sites," references to gay sex (some petting on screen, and a couple lying in bed), and a major plot point concerning a young man's sexual identity; kissing and some caressing between couples (straight and gay).


Some use of the f-word, other obscenities.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink wine and liquor at parties and smoke cigarettes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the film features discussions of sexual activity, specifically "heavy petting" and the movement of sperm, as a means to explain Magdalena's extremely rare route to pregnancy. A gay couple seduces a young man. Family members argue (especially fathers with children). Family members fight physically. A young man keys someone else's car. Characters use some language, drink, and smoke cigarettes.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byvitorres21 October 22, 2020
Adult Written bykjl April 9, 2008
Teen, 16 years old Written bystarrydog May 11, 2018
This has been one of my favorite movies since I've seen it. In my experience it does a great job of showing the affects of gentrification on certain neighb... Continue reading

What's the story?

The winner of the Audience and Grand Jury prizes at Sundance, QUINCEANERA follows a couple of coming-of-age tales. Living in Echo Park, Los Angeles, Cousins Magdalena (Emily Rios) and Carlos (Jesse Garcia) both find themselves kicked out of their homes for very different reasons. Carlos' conservative father cannot accept the fact that his son is gay. Magdalena's been sent away by her father, Pastor Ernesto (Jesus Castanos-Chima), after he learns that she's pregnant, just weeks shy of her quinceañera -- 15th birthday. Though Magdalena tells her father she has never had intercourse with her straight-A student boyfriend, the adults don't believe her. Taken in by their great-great uncle Tomas (Chalo Gonzalez), Magdalena and Carlos learn to support one another even when they feel rejected by their own fathers.

Is it any good?

This worthwhile movie is about property as well as propriety. For one thing, the neighborhood is in the process of "gentrification": as poor Hispanic residents are pushed out by younger, wealthier white buyers, generational expectations change. Carlos surfs the Net; Magdalena and friends want to purchase U.S. mass-marketed merchandise (clothing and food). Both angry fathers represent a losing effort to maintain "the old ways." Their inflexibility is contrasted with Tomas' openness to change, his generosity, and unconditional love.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the relationships between parents and children. How do Magdalena and Carlos' fathers react to their children's unexpected situations, and how could they have responded differently? They can also talk about gentrification; is it a positive or negative trend?

Movie details

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