Women in America have always been given a raw deal. Having been denied equal rights to vote, purchase land, have the right to make sound decisions regarding birth control, the right to have an abortion, hold a job with equal pay or consistently dismissed and disregarded for no other reason than our gender. Director Lissette Feliciano takes the feminist mantle and turns it into a coming of age love story full of discovery, growth and evolution all while breaking the fourth wall to comment every once in a while (a method usually reserved for comedy, but works well breaking up the dramatic tension).
Celina (Lorenza izzo) and Mateo (Brian Craig) are high school lovers whose story has been interrupted by the Vietnam War. When he returns home the couple reconnect, have a child and eventually marry – not necessarily in that order. Celina is simultaneously navigating living in a tumultuous home environment with a highly volatile father (Steven Bauer) and complicit mother (Alejandra Miranda). What brings her explicit joy is school and her bestie Marty (Chrissie Fit) who is beyond sex obsessed. But, when a botched abortion results in Marty’s death, Celina’s purpose and world take a left turn shift ultimately for the better.
What I love most is this multi-cultural cast, invoking life lessons on the narrow-minded ideology of men towards women in 60’s and 70’s, the prejudices of interracial couples, Asian, Black and Latin people – conscious or unconscious and the struggle of being a single Mom when men opt to dip out and leave women on their own. So much was unpacked in this film, that it was hard to keep up. But, keep up is exactly what I did. Feliciano takes a few nods from Damien Chazelle, most noticeably in a dance scene at the Welcome Home party for the teen Vets and a single camera move as Celina walks down a hallway through pregnancy past friends, family and those few supporters gathered along the way, struck me as hauntingly beautiful. As a woman, who learned much too late in life about how to make money work for your life, the lessons that Gilbert (Simi Liu) imparts to Celina are not only invaluable to her character, but to women in the audience who are clueless about such matters.
Women is Losers is a deep little journey into the psyche of women through various multi-faceted, emotionally wrought moments in one teenage girl whose transition into womanhood comes with a price. A price that ends up being well worth it in the end. When. that plane flies over Celina’s house built on a plot of. lands purchased with her investment money, a sense of pride washed over me knowing she finally found a way to make everything work for her and those she loved even if they were no longer in the human form to enjoy it. This women is far from being a loser…trust me.