Girl In Progress
A deconstructionist take on the teenage coming-of-age story, director Patricia Riggen’s adequate adaptation of Hiram Martinez’s screenplay makes bold statements about immigrant culture and values in America. Grace (Eva Mendes) is a single mother working two jobs. Her days are spent cleaning the expensive home of Dr. Hartford (Matthew Modine), with whom she is having an affair. At night, she works at a seafood restaurant. In extramarital cliché fashion, Dr. Hartford promises to leave his wife to care for Grace, and her teen daughter Ansiedad (Clerra Ramirez). Ansiedad isn’t the only one with some growing up to do. An English-class assignment prompts Ansiedad to carefully plot her own by-the-book trajectory into young adulthood. Her maturing process will end with her deflowering at the hands of the school stud, if all goes as planned. Although the film’s third act gets strained by one sub-plot too many, “Girl In Progress” is a provocative young adult film that eschews self-righteousness.
Rated PG-13. 90 mins. (B-) (Three Stars - out of five/no halves)
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