When it's over, don't let the title fool you into thinking this film is a lighthearted romantic comedy, because this Quinceanera was anything but. By definition, a quinceañera is a Latin American celebration to honor the passage from childhood into adolescence of a girl on her fifteenth birthday and usually follows with a formal dinner and dance. In this film, Magdalena's (Emily Rios) simple life and upcoming quinceanera becomes complicated when she discovers that she is pregnant. Shunned by her parents and friends and abandoned by the baby's father, Magdalena finds a new family and life with her great-granduncle, Tio (Chalo Gonzalez), and gay cousin, Carlos (Jesse Garcia). Using Echo Park, Los Angeles as the location backdrop, this small independent film captured a fresh perspective of Latino/American culture by offering close-ups into the lives of several families. At times, the film felt very much like a documentary by the way the dialogue was delivered and the way the scenes were filmed, but the themes of betrayal, religious expectations, and racial stereotypes still came through with honesty and at times, with bitterness. One thing I would change in the plot would be the "immaculate conception" storyline, which I wasn't sold on as a viewer and would have preferred that Magdalena lose her virginity making her character more real to audiences thereby intensifying the story as a whole.
My rating: 3.5 out of 5
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