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Raising Victor Vargas

1 rating: 3.0
A movie directed by Peter Sollett

Peter Sollett's astonishing feature debut establishes the director as one of American cinema's most refreshing new voices. Miraculously capturing the grittiness of life on Manhattan's Lower East Side while maintaining an air of hopeful innocence, RAISING … see full wiki

Tags: Movies, Dramas
Director: Peter Sollett
Release Date: 2003
MPAA Rating: R
1 review about Raising Victor Vargas

Growing Up Fast in Spanish Harlem

  • Nov 29, 2004
Pros: Excellent story line about growing up fast in tough Spanish Harlem.

Cons: unknown cast

The Bottom Line: Well written and acted Hispanic coming of age movie. A comedic look at growing up and taking on the responsibilities of a man.

Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot.

First of all let me say what a treat this movie was! Although all of the actors are unknowns - all gave stellar performances about this film about growing up, becoming a man and what it takes to survive adolescence in East Manhatten.

I first noticed this film as it played at my favorite documentary movie theater Sunset Lamelle on Sunset Boulevard. Their showings of movies are always first rate and my interest was piqued immediately.

Victor Rasuk is a hispanic teen that lives in a small cramped and dirty apartment in Spanish Harlem. He lives with his aged grandmother from the Dominican Republic and two siblings. As the single grandmother struggles to raise 3 children in a bad setting, Victor gets into the most trouble being the oldest and most rambunctious.

As the neighborhood lothario - his reputation is seriously damaged as he is caught romancing "Fat Donna" from upstairs. His quest to repair his reputation is humorous as well as touching.

The poverty and fear elicits tough and macho talk from the neighborhood kids. While money is valued and sought, it is rare so the real currency with the teenage set is sex.
Who is dating who, who has made it with whom are all real currencies and traversing this lifestyle is hard for Victor.

The passage of the film takes Victor from being a selfish, self absorbed and superficial punk to realizing that being a man is about loving and caring for those you love.

The other characters in this film are Judy Marte who plays his love interest as the beautiful and unattainable "Juicy Judy". As a great beauty, Judy has walled herself off from the leers and jeers of the neighborhood boys and finds it very hard to trust a man.

This indi film was endearing, the plot was well constructed and overall packed a punch. The filming was beautiful even though it depicted stuggles. The neighborhood garden was the perfect metaphore for life and love. I got a good taste for the dilemmas and decisions of those who find themselves in a poverty stricken world. The strength it takes to rise above and live life with dignity and purpose was well displayed and gave an encouraging feel to viewers.

A delight in all areas!

Strong language and sexual situations - not recommended for children.


Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Fit for Friday Evening
Suitability For Children: Not suitable for Children of any age

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