Teens will like Girl in Progress because it’s clever, fun, and has lots of drama. Adults will like the movie because – gasp! – Hollywood finally shows consequences to bad decisions.
About the Movie
Single mother Grace, played by Eva Mendes (Hitch, 2 Fast 2 Furious), who has made some bad decisions in life and is failing miserably at taking care of her teenage daughter Ansieded.
Ansieded (actress Cierra Ramirez) feels rejected and neglected by her mother. She’s also aggravated that her mother makes so many immature decisions. She knows that she wants something different in life, but doesn’t know how to start. Until one day in school, Ansiedad learns about the “coming of age” story whereby a young person goes through specific rites of passage to pass from childhood to adulthood. If it worked for the characters in her school books, why wouldn’t it work in her own life?
Ansiedad then devises an elaborate plan to go through typical rites of passage that the world says will help you grow up: getting in with the “cool” kids, rejecting her best “loser” friend, and eventually trying to lose her virginity to the “bad boy” at school. All the while her preoccupied mother Grace stumbles through an extramarital affair and drama at work.
Throughout the course of the movie, the “coming of age” experiment unfolds with a variety of results, mostly negative. As Ansiedad experiences many difficult and confusing things alone, she comes to the realization of how much she needs her mother. And, eventually, her mother is forced to sort through her own issues and realizes how much she needs to BECOME a mother to her daughter.
What You Should Know
Although the film Girl in Progress includes Disney star Raini Rodriguez, this is not a Disney movie. It is a relevant and raw story of a high school girl who tries to grow up without the guidance and support of her family. She makes mistakes, and it’s not easy to watch. Some rights of passage are no big deal, like dress like a rebel, but other rights of passage are as awkward and as the real thing, like trying to hook up with a guy just to say you aren’t a virgin anymore.
It’s easy to look at the content of the movie and say that it’s not a moral fit for teenagers. There’s teens drinking! Yikes! The difference here is that this movie defies Hollywood norms and shows the consequences of bad behavior. It’s refreshing to see a splash of reality in a movie theater.
Watch it or Skip it?
If you are high school age or older – watch it. Girl in Progress is a good alternative for all the ladies who want to head to the theaters but don’t want to see superheroes smashing stuff in The Avengers. It’s a good movie with a moral message that isn’t cheesy or overly simplified.
Youth Ministers: If you are going with a group from your church, be sure to check out our “Teens in Progress” Life Night and discussion guide on CatholicYouthMinistry.com.