Thanks to Latina Bloggers Connect I received an invitation to attend a screening of “Girl in Progress.” It had been a long time since I was so moved by a film and so immediately invested in the characters. The story demonstrates the complex nature of mother/daughter relationships but it also demonstrates how our relationships with family, friends and ourselves are constantly evolving. Eva Mendez and Sierra Ramirez gave life to beautifully written characters under the direction of Patricia Riggen. As a Latina I cannot help but feel incredibly proud of this movie, but the message it leaves the audience with transcends ethnic boundaries.
The movie focuses on a young girl and her desire to separate from her mother by eliciting her “coming of age” experience. I promised this post would contain no spoilers so I won’t delve into too many details! By the end both of the women in the film have made progress, but just like in real life, things aren’t perfect.
Looking back, I relate to the naïve precociousness of the daughter in the film. I once thought that life transitions could be uncomplicated and that the ties that bind us to those we love could be easily broken. I thought that my “coming of age” would bring an end to the confusion, messiness and uncertainty of life. I now know that even when we have experienced our “coming of age” and have transitioned out of our adolescence we never stop learning and we never stop growing.
This movie allowed the main characters to be flawed, vulnerable and even unlikeable at times which is a rarity these days. A lot of us struggle to achieve a false ideal of womanhood because we are afraid of the imperfections, and flaws lurking just underneath the polished exteriors we work so hard to maintain. I know many times I held my own mother to a very high standard and even now constantly berate myself for all of the things that I am not.
Living up to our own false expectations of what life should look like is sometimes the hardest thing to let go of. When we realize that we are never really complete, that there is never an end to our growth perhaps we will start to appreciate the beauty of being women in progress.
I for one know that I will always be a woman in progress. Watch the movie and you may have an epiphany of your very own. Take your mom, your sister or your best friend, you won’t regret it.