Real Women Have Curves

Ugly Betty star captivates in teen drama.
  • Review Date: July 13, 2005
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2002
  • Running Time: 85 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Ana lies to her parents to sneak out and see her boyfriend. She enlists her grandfather in the lie. But mostly, Ana is a great model for a teen learning to love herself as she grows into an adult.

Not applicable

Plenty of hand-holding, kissing, and making out. Ana loses her virginity to Jimmy, though nothing really racy is shown.


One use of "f--k." Carmen calls Ana a tramp and a slut in Spanish.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Ana buys a cigar for her grandfather.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Ana loses her virginity to her boyfriend. The couple is shown naked together in his bedroom (though nothing really racy is shown). Ana also lies to her parents to go on dates and encourages her coworkers to strip to their underwear at work. Her mother constantly insults her weight and calls her a slut in Spanish. Ana struggles with pleasing her family, growing up, and following her dreams, all in an environment in which poverty makes it very hard to get ahead.

What's the story?

Ana Garcia (America Ferrera), the youngest daughter of an L.A. Mexican-American family, has just graduated from Beverly Hills High School and wants to go to Columbia University and date the sweet but dorky Jimmy (Brian Sites). But her mother, Carmen (Lupe Ontiveros), is determined to marry Ana off, have a grandchild, and install Ana at the local sweatshop so she can finally retire. Ana clashes with her traditional mom, rolling her eyes at her mother's insistence that she lose weight to meet a boy and makes snide, belittling comments about her mother's beliefs and life. "How dare anyone tell me what I should look like or how I should be when there's so much more to me than just my weight," Ana announces. When Ana storms out of the sweatshop, Carmen races after her and collapses. "Are you embarrassed of me?" Carmen asks. Can Ana parse her values -- contraception, education, loving herself for who she is -- with her mother's conservative values? Can the two generations come to understand each other as Ana threatens to leave the nest for good?

Is it any good?


REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES is a welcome addition to the great pantheon of teen heroine movies. Like Pretty in Pink, this film encourages young girls to follow their dreams and rewards them with both the boy and scholastic success. And like the warmly human Quinceanera, it shows a teenage girl who isn't white, rich, and pampered. This isn't The O.C. or Laguna Beach -- and thank heaven for that.

Ana's teen angst has a profound purpose. She's trying to learn to love herself in a world where the dresses she irons are for people far smaller than her and will be sold for far more than she could afford. These clashes make for encounters that would be familiar to the parents of most teenagers. In the end, the film's heavy-handed monologues -- presumably a remnant of the film's life as a stage play -- are tempered by Ferrera's compassionate and earnest performance.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how body image is shaped by the movies that you see. How do you feel about how you look? Has your body image affected how you feel about getting into relationships? Especially for teenage girls, this film is a great opportunity to talk about how they cope with the stress of growing up and becoming independent while also caring about their families.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:January 1, 2002
DVD release date:April 22, 2003
Cast:America Ferrera, Ingrid Oliu, Lupe Ontiveros
Director:Patricia Cardoso
Studio:Warner Bros.
Run time:85 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:sexual content and some language.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 13 years old Written bystlcrdinalchmp06 April 9, 2008
Teen, 16 years old Written bytcdancer4u April 9, 2008
age 0+

Great Movie

This movie has a lot of good messages such as loving youself the way you are. One scene especially when the women start compareing their bodies shows how women come in all shapes and sizes acceptance of who you are is important.
Teen, 15 years old Written byuvkitty September 26, 2010
age 12+

sounds good to me.

at least it isn't about being thin and looking like celebrities.
What other families should know
Great messages


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