Customer Reviews: Luminarias
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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on February 20, 2002
Evelina Fernandez's writing is superb, she takes you on a thrilling emotional rollercoaster ride. Through the slump of a divorce and the exciting high of dating a new love, and everthing in between. The film brought back fond memories of growing up Latino, I felt like I had just revisited my old friends and familia. The characters portray the complete Latino spectrum; from the savvy vato performed masterfully by Cheech Marin to the wanna be gabacha played by the wonderful Marta DuBois. Dyana Ortelli, Angela Moya and Lupe Ontiveros are hilarious and turn in outstanding performances. When you're not crying you'll be laughing uncontrollably. Robert Beltran is very believable as the scoundrel husband. Sal Lopez is a convincing Mexican mesero who is tenacious in his pursuit of DuBois' character. Truly one of the few well put together and enjoyable films in a long time. Latinas will have to get together for a "Luminarias" slumber party and talk about men until the wee hours of the morning. I'm looking forward to more movies from this group of top-notch performers.
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on November 3, 2003
I saw this movie last night by chance (there was nothing else on TV) and I am very glad I did. Even though I am not Mexican American I am a hispanic woman and this movie showed a side of us that many people don't see. First of all these women were not your stereotypical latinas we see on screen such as gang bangers, prostitutes, poor and uneducated, instead the're just the opposite but with the hangups that plague most minority women. I know because as a latina growing up in the South during the 60's I always felt the same way. I attended private Catholic schools and it was hell, the white girls felt I was too brown so friendship was out and the black kids I came in contact with also gave me the cold shoulder so for a long time I felt displaced. As a result I did everything I needed to do to have a great education and make money. But the price was high. It is only now that I'm trying to get back to my roots.
This movie also shows a lot of the problems women in general have to deal with specially those of us who are independent and of strong will. And as for those who thought the male characters were flat and two dimensional, they need to realize that the movie was about the women. By the way, I thought portrayal of "cholo" the professor was a great depiction of how many of us judge people by the way they look instead of who they really are.
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on November 30, 2002
....four beautiful, successful, (did I say beautiful?) Latin ladies struggle with life and love in modern day L.A. One of the few movies mostly written, produced and directed by Latin Americans for english speaking viewers. There's zip in the intial discussions Andrea have with her lawyer-rival, Scott Bakula and when the next day the four women all meet in Andrea's office...There's plenty of humour and fun, also. Like, during a cook out we meet Andrea's brother, Jesus, (played with charm by Cheech Marin) who looks like he could be a drug dealer turns out to be a professor of philosophy at the university while the guy who looks as if he could be a professor--or a used car salesman--turns out to be the dealer. Central to the story is a custody case where lovely Liz Torres shows up as the presiding judge in the courtroom. The case involves Andrea's less educated, but spunky legal secretary. Andrea has fallen for the opposing lawyer (Bakula), so she helps her secretary find other representation...There could have problems with conflict of interest, Andrea says. But when the secretary finds out of Andrea's involvement with the opposing lawyer, it all smacks of treachery and sell-out. Which, overall, if you think about it a bit, ends up symbolising the questions anybody from the non-dominant culture has to confront when they are awarded great success and others from the same neighborhood have yet to arrive at the same stature in life...The movie is an entertaining look at what goes on in the psyche of Latina America.
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on March 2, 2002
Seldom have I seen a movie that was a sleeper where I had to patiently wait as long as I did for it to be out on DVD! I'm glad it is finally out I worried that it would never be out! I have been looking for Luminarias since shortly after I viewed it at one of the very few local theatres that featured this wonderful movie. I viewed it with a fellow latina who also loved it. No explanation can do it justice it is just a wonderful portrayal of the latino operational & biological family dynamic! It encompasses the beauty and shortcomings in our culture group as well as the many facets surrounding many of our interpersonal relationships. The movie's flavoring with just the right Spanish language words made it unique and no one will be able to duplicate this movie. Not to take away from Waiting to Exhale but I disagree that it was a latino version of Waiting to Exhale... it can stand on its own merits it doesn't need and should not be compared. Latina women will likely be able to appreciate it a bit more due to many of its unique cultural aspects.
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on January 15, 2013
This is one of my favorite movies. Sort of like a Latina, "Waiting to Exhale". I love the characters and how they explore every facet, whether it's real or a myth about the way people perceive each other. It is funny, poignant and serious all at the same time. And the music is fabulous, the best soundtrack ever. This is a great rainy day movie and one that you will watch over and over again.
Carolyn G
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on March 17, 2013
The Movie has special meaning to me because of the actors in it and the link they have with Arizona Author Stella Pope Duarte.
She is good friends with most of the actors involved and several of them may also be in her Movie-that she sold her rights to from her book: Let Their Spirits Dance. I use it show my friends and family and talk about my good friend the author in the process. We all enjoy this film and I tell them all they can get a copy from Amazon. It's a Win-Win Movie.
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on March 28, 2003
I watched this movie last night was really touched by it. It spoke to the heart of what Mexican Americans face on a daily basis. The complexity of the story lines were very realistic to me. As a minority in this country I could identify with some of the struggles that these women faced. Its just a fact of life. On certain levels there are no easy solutions. Certain aspects of these women showed them as being "flawed" in some way, but I appreciated how they helped each other through some of the "madness". We all have issues that plague us, but it matters how we allow them to help us grow. Either we embrace them or let them hinder how we relate to others. Even in the face of assumptions about "other" races (or lifestyle chosen) that were made, there were moments when the main characters had to re-examine how they previously felt. I would say that they were enlightened, maybe not completely changed..but more aware. This film really could have been played out within any racial group in some way all of us have had to think about these things. I also enjoyed how it examined how females and males relate to one another as well.
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on March 15, 2003
I am a white male, and was not offended one bit. This movie is not racist, but a very accurate sescription of what Mexican women are like. I am friends with many Mexican ladies, and by God, put them together, and You have Luminarias. This movie is funny, touching, and very true to life. All the actors are great. Scott Bakula, Cheech Marin play their roles to perfection. The real stars are the ladies. Hats off toa wonderful movie. Everyone should see this movie.
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on May 19, 2002
This film is fun and joyous as it explores relationships in the context of ethnicity and identity. Latin life in L.A. is embraced and beautifully depicted. The pace is quick and light, even though it is touching on some very tough issues and allows each of the central characters to grow in unexpected ways. My teenage daughters and I saw the film when it was first released at the theaters and we thoroughly enjoyed it. We have been anxiously awaiting its release to DVD, and we have enjoyed it even more the second time around. The film deserved much more attention at the box office. Maybe it will find a larger audience now. We highly recommend this movie.
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on December 12, 2009
Scott Bakula guest stars as the "white" Jewish heart throb
in an East LA Mexican movie about women between cultures.
The idea is there are these four educated Mexican girls
who have reached near middle age in LA. Most are relatively successful in their careers,
but are having some problems in their love lives.
One is a train wreck artist who has very little luck with men
and gets drunk every time things go south on her.
One is a psychologist who hasn't yet adapted to being a professional
in a blue collar Mexican world.
One is a fashion designer who makes hip Mexican-American fashions.
The last best hero is a divorce lawyer who handles cases for abused Mexican women.
When her marriage goes on the rocks, things heat up.
This movie portrays Latino women in LA as kind of loose.
Anyone believing that is about to be disappointed?
I liked it as bad as the picture of Mexicans is in the movie
because it was kind of funny in a head bashing way.
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