So you know how it is. You hear about a film where the central characters are female. Interested. They’re both young. Still interested. Latina. Very interested. And they’re both lesbian. Very, very . . . well, you see where I’m going. What was the darling of many independent film festivals in 2012, Mosquita y Mari is writer and director Aurora Guerrero’s semi-autobiographical film of two Latinas coming of age in the tight-knit community of Huntington Park, California. Guaranteed to be one of the most original films from an LGBT standpoint, Guerrero brings to the screen a touching film, yet makes no promises on the fate of the girls future or with one another. It’s a love story first and foremost which also touches upon immigration, poverty, family unity, peer pressure, self discovery, and sex. Although, and I can’t stress this enough, if your intention is to see sex between the two main characters, move along. There’s nothing to see here on that front.
For those of you still with me, Yolanda is your typical Chicana student, getting straight A’s while living at home with strict but loving and overworked parents who stress education over all else. Mari is a tough but sexy new arrival who is from—insert cliché here—the other side of the tracks. She smokes weed, shoplifts, her single mother is barely around, certainly not a good influence on the angelic and studious Yolanda. So like all girls, Yolanda is attracted to the bad boy, or in this case Mari’s negative qualities, which as we find out throughout the film, really hides a young woman who actually wants to be more like Yolanda. The girls form an unlikely bond at first which evolves into a mutual attraction. For Yolanda this couldn’t come at a worse time as her parents stress that the only thing on her mind must be her studies and getting into college. Mari is who Yolanda wants to be more like. They become more than just friends as their bond becomes more emotional than just a physical attraction.
So yeah, my girlfriend likes “riding on top of me” if you know what I mean.
The film does move slowly at times. There are plenty of opportunities when you can get up, grab some munchies, and literally not a miss a key thing that happened while you were away. Don’t go too far or you might just miss the entire film. (But, if you’re checking it out strictly for some hanky panky moments, you ain’t gonna miss anything at all.)
Uh oh, she kicked me off her bike. I must’ve said something wrong.
The film has a nice balance of the girl’s home life, school, and of course, their relationship. The film never really effectively shows how much it grows on the romantic level, leaving lots of ambiguity on the status of their relationship. There are certainly emotional feelings between the two but we never really know if this had the makings of a real lesbian relationship or just a glorified crush.
There’s a lot of good original storytelling here and it will resonate with most audiences, especially gay and lesbian audiences, as well as Latinos where the subject of homosexuality is still taboo due to cultural and religious reasons. The ending is too Mexican showdown-y but it does keep you wondering what will become of the characters. You will wonder because Guerrero does a nice job of developing Yolanda and Mari’s characters to the point where we care about what will happen in their future. With an 80 minute run-time it would have been preferred to see even more development among the supporting cast, a bit more back story on the Yolanda and Mari, and perhaps a bit more closure. It’s left to our imaginations what will happen, but good or bad, the two definitely experience a much needed life lesson. And hey, would it be wrong to ask for a little bit of sex?
Take a Drink: whenever you see Yolanda about to do something really bad but take way too long thinking about it.
Do a Shot: when Yolanda finally does something bad even though she’s still a goody two shoes at heart.
Take a Drink: whenever Mari gets jealous seeing Yolanda get too chummy with a guy.
Do a Shot: whenever Yolanda sleeps with a guy.
Take a Drink: whenever the girls are about to come. this. close. to making out.
Do a Shot: when you finally kind of sort of see the girls about to get intimate if only for the slightest instance before Yolanda’s parents walk into the house. (Damn parents!)