Combustible Celluloid
With: Rita Moreno, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Morgan Freeman, Whoopi Goldberg, Eva Longoria, Justina Machado, Hector Elizondo, George Chakiris, Chita Rivera, Mitzi Gaynor, Gloria Estefan, Karen Olivo, Norman Lear, Sonia Manzano, Emilio Estefan Jr., Terrence McNally
Written by: n/a
Directed by: Mariem Pérez Riera
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for mature thematic content, some strong language including a sexual reference, and suggestive material
Running Time: 90
Date: 06/18/2021

Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It (2021)

4 Stars (out of 4)

Great Stride Story

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

One of the best showbiz documentaries I've seen, Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It succeeds on three levels. First and foremost is the Puerto Rican-born Moreno herself, here a vibrant, energetic — and frequently hilarious — 87. She allows herself to be shot candidly, and also contributes fearless, no-nonsense on-camera interviews that reveal all the personal horrors that she endured and survived (including racism, harassment, rape, and a volatile, destructive relationship with Marlon Brando). Secondly, the movie is a forward-thinking document for the 21st century, telling Moreno's story in terms of representation and diversity; the clips of her early work are not viewed through a lens of nostalgia, but rather with a sense of dismay and embarrassment over their cultural cluelessness. "I did what I had to do," she says. "I needed to work." Thirdly, despite all this, the movie still celebrates the idea of showbiz itself, the excitement of it, and how it's possible to look forward to things improving.

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