WARNING: The following review contains spoilers
Inspired by a true story, Women Is Losers brings us Celina Guerrera, a catholic schoolgirl turned single mom struggling to make it financially in ’60s San Francisco. She becomes pregnant from her military boyfriend, Mateo, and seeks an abortion at first, but after her best friend Marty (who also became pregnant) dies after a failed illegal abortion, she has no choice but to have her baby and venture out into the world by herself.
In the film, Celina struggles to get a good job because she lacks a high school diploma, and she seeks somewhere to live other than her abusive home because she’s a single mother. In this way, we can see that Celina’s struggle is an external one. Even the director, Lissette Feliciano, mentions that she can work as hard as she can, but she will always have a system that is against her.
The film also brings us a dialogue on the sanction of female sexuality by religion. Celina’s father calls her a whore many times in the film, and the nuns from Celina’s school call the woman’s body a “weak, dirty, and sinful thing.” I found this to be particularly interesting, since I rarely see films so explicitly touch upon these topics and how they’re used to justify the illegality of abortion all around the world. And speaking about abortion, the film also gives us a glimpse into what it was like for the real-life women of this film to go through the process of abortion at the time. Later, it talks about Roe v. Wade, and I see that as a victory not only for all people who find themselves in need of abortions, but as a victory for Marty, who precisely died because of a malpractice of this nature. I find this topic to be so pertinent, what with the retrograde Texas abortion decision in 2021. It brings that to light something I think is so important for certain films to have: a social activism element.
So, how was it?
While Lissette Feliciano’s debut film, I found it to be so professionally and beautifully made! I was impressed with the story outline, the cinematography, the characters, the acting, and even the funny (yet necessary) fourth wall breaks the movies uses. I was also impressed with how the cast brought the tale to life in a very real way, as I had never seen some of these actors before.
It’s colorful, the fashion is out of this world, and the story is immaculate and satisfying.
You will definitely catch me watching this movie again at the Boston Latino International Film Festival.
Women Is Losers
dir. Lissette Feliciano
Part of the Boston Latino International Film Festival, running virtually from 9/24-10/3 – click here for ticket info
Watch this space for the Hassle’s interview with director Lissette Feliciano!
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