How The Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer

  • 2005
  • Movie
  • R
  • Drama

First time feature filmmaker Georgina Garcia Riedel's leisurely drama follows three generations of women living in a dusty Arizona town so small that the neighbors know their business before they do . Seventeen-year-old Blanca Garcia (America Ferrara) lives with her divorced mother, Lolita (Elizabeth Pena), a short drive away from Lolita’s widowed mother,...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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First time feature filmmaker Georgina Garcia Riedel's leisurely drama follows three generations of women living in a dusty Arizona town so small that the neighbors know their business before they do .

Seventeen-year-old Blanca Garcia (America Ferrara) lives with her divorced mother, Lolita (Elizabeth Pena), a short drive away from Lolita’s widowed mother, Dona Genoveva (Lucy Gallardo), who shocks her daughter by collecting up the pin money she has stashed around the house and buying a battered truck. She can’t really explain why – she doesn’t even drive -- but now that she’s bought it, she intends to learn how. Fortunately, Dona Genoveva’s gardener, Don Pedro (Jorge Cervera Jr.), volunteers his services as a teacher, and soon she’s enmeshed in a decorous affair while Lolita clucks her tongue and spends Saturday nights alone, drinking beer and listening to weepy Spanish love songs. She ignores the crude advances of two-timing Victor (Steven Bauer), who owns a store across the street from hers, while failing to notice that gentle employee Jose Luis (Rick Najera) adores her. Blanca and her friends hang around gossiping about boys while maintaining a cautious distance: They all know the best way to make sure they never get out of town, though they wish their mothers would stopreminding them. But Blanca is swept off her feet by Sal (Leo Minaya), the new kid who blew into town with a pick up truck and a bad reputation, and must find her own path between passion and recklessness.

A first-generation Mexican American who grew up in Arizona, Riedel never stoops to melodrama; in fact, she includes a scene of Blanca and her grandma watching a telenovela that epitomizes the kind of love story she isn’t telling: “I did not know she was your sister,” protests a straying, impossibly handsome boyfriend, as his distraught amor sputters, “But she’s my twin sister!” And yet ridiculous though it is, the show opens the lines of communication between women at opposite ends of their lives and equally thrilled by the first flush of love. Made before Ferrara’s Ugly Betty stardom, it’s a gentle valentine to desire in all its complicated forms, and while women take center stage, Reidel includes a chorus of old men whose tales of girls and cars are a reminder that it takes two to tango.

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  • Released: 2005
  • Rating: R
  • Review: First time feature filmmaker Georgina Garcia Riedel's leisurely drama follows three generations of women living in a dusty Arizona town so small that the neighbors know their business before they do . Seventeen-year-old Blanca Garcia (America Ferrara) liv… (more)

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