Quinceanera (R)

Drama 90 August 2, 2006
By Ella Taylor
A winning tale of sex, real estate, and more or less immaculate conception in Echo Park, Quinceañera edges as close to a complex view of L.A. Latino life as can be hoped for from white-boy filmmakers Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland. Intended, a trifle oddly, as a tribute to 1960s English kitchen-sink drama, this delightfully saucy, heartfelt movie about a community under siege from gentrification turns on the testy efforts of a pregnant teenager (Emily Rios) and her gay, borderline-delinquent cousin (Jesse Garcia) to hang onto their Mexican identity while growing up American. Quinceañera neither skirts nor condescends to the difficulties faced by poor urban neighborhoods threatened from within and without. Shot with an unobtrusive hand-held camera and with copious help from the filmmakers' neighbors, this generous, observant movie offers a vital slice of Latino life — minus drug dealers, racist cops, and gun-waving street gangs — with a giddy, improvised feel and a loving sense of place.
Wash Westmoreland, Richard Glatzer Emily Rios, Jesse Garcia, Chalo Gonzalez, David W. Ross, Ramiro Iniguez, Araceli Guzman-Rico, Jesus Castanos, Johnny Chavez, Alicia Sixtos, Aris Mendoza Wash Westmoreland, Richard Glatzer Anne Clements Sony Pictures Classics

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