Ana is 18, overweight, disenchanted and about to graduate from high school. She quits her casual job as a burger flipper, much to the annoyance of her traditional Mexican family living modestly in East Los Angeles. Her mother, Carmen expects Ana to work at the family sweatshop making up dresses for a manufacturer, with her older sister Estela. Ana reluctantly helps out, but her aspirations come alive when on the urging of her English teacher she is accepted with a scholarship at Columbia University – in New York. Ana’s family refuses to let her go, but just as she lost her virginity under her own control, Ana is determined to live life her way.

Real women take chances, have flaws, embrace life...

In the wake of My Big Fat Greek Wedding comes Real Women Have Curves, both adapted from stageplays about the experiences of American women of ethnic background. Ana, America Ferrera, has just completed her schooling at the prestigious Beverly Hills High. She had to cross town to attend because her Mexican American family lives on the other side of the city where her father is a gardener and her mother Carmen, Lupe Ontiveros, works as a seamstress in the struggling clothing company run by Ana\'s sister Estela, Ingrid Oliu. Carmen is one of those cruel mothers who\'s given up on 29 year old Estela ever finding a husband and is vehemently opposed to Ana continuing her studies. She resents the years she\'s worked to keep the family going and now she believes it\'s Ana\'s turn to pull her weight. Reluctant to compromise this film with any hint of yielding to Hollywood imperatives, director Patricia Cordoso working with a screenplay by the playwright Josefina Lopez and one of the film\'s producers George LaVoo brings a rather plodding pace to this depiction of life for young Mexican Americans. America Ferrera brings a fresh unselfconsciousness to Ana, Ontiveros is effective as the manipulative Carmen. Made for HBO this film is most probably as effective on the small screen as the large. Comments by David StrattonA small-scale film, very much in the My Big Fat Greek Wedding school, which centres on a lovely performance by America Ferrera as the sweet-natured but overweight heroine. It\'s about escaping from a possessive family to make your own way in the world, and it\'s feel-good and attractive but it unfolds in a very minor key.