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“RITA MORENO: JUST A GIRL WHO DECIDED TO GO FOR IT”

 

 

Review by John Delia

Telling her own story in part, Rita Moreno holds nothing back as we get a look at one of the most prolific actresses ever to grace the big screen, TV and stage. At the helm of this documentary is Mariem Pérez Riera, a fellow Puerto Rican, who delivers the icon with a richly filled selection of A list actors and filmmakers. But it’s the words from Moreno’s mouth that make the film compelling and important.

Rita Moreno in the film RITA MORENO JUST A GIRL WHO DECIDED TO GO FOR IT Photo Credit Courtesy of Roadside Attractions

Rita Moreno compiled over 160 credits in film and TV in her career from 1950 to the present West Side Story (as Valentina). Among her winning honors that numbers 31, the actress has a star of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, won a Supporting Actress Oscar and Golden Globe in 1961 as Anita in “West Side Story”, a Tony as Googie Gomez in “The Ritz”, had other big wins including two Primetime Emmys, four ALMA Latino Awards, a Grammy in 1973 for Best Recording for Children on the album “The Electric Company”, and many Lifetime and Career Achievement Awards. In 2004 Rita received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush and in 2009 was presented the National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama.

But the film is not really all about her honors. Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It is an outspoken revelation of what an actress has to go through to make it in the industry. Swallowing pride because of her ethnic discrimination, dealing with powerful movie filmmakers who are often verbally abusive, being a woman who was often treated as a sex object, she’s an activist involving woman’s rights and against discrimination, are just some of the trials and tribulations she has had to go through.

Rita Moreno in the film RITA MORENO JUST A GIRL WHO DECIDED TO GO FOR IT Photo Credit Courtesy of Roadside Attractions

Much like Rita Moreno’s own personality, the movie moves along at a fast pace filled with photos, home movies, video, and past film performances, and it tantalizes and inspires. Nicely directed by Mariem Pérez Riera the camera work keeps everything up close and personal. She handles the personal information well letting Rita Moreno tell her story in her own words while flashing back a number of times on her career.

Still full of life the Puerto Rican born lady of the screens, big and small, still has it going for her while turning 90 in December. Moreno is currently playing the role of Lydia Riera in TV’s “One Day at a Time” and has been since its inception in 2017 to present. And she’s soon to be seen in Stephen Spielberg’s remake of “West Side Story” as Valentina.

Rita Moren From the film RITA MORENO: JUST A GIRL WHO DECIDED TO GO FOR IT Courtesy of Getty Images

Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It has been rated PG-13 by the MPAA for mature thematic content, some strong language including a sexual reference, and suggestive material. One of my favorite actresses, Rita Moreno certainly deserves her say in a world in which she has had to struggle. The movie is a must see for all women and film buffs.

Additional Film Information:
Featuring: Rita Moreno, George Chakiris, Héctor Elizondo, Gloria Estefan,
Tom Fontana, Morgan Freeman, Mitzi Gaynor, Norman Lear, Eva Longoria,
Directed by: Mariem Pérez Riera
Genre: Doctumentary
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for mature thematic content, some strong language including a sexual reference, and suggestive material.
Running Time: 1 hr. 29 min.
Opening Date: June 18, 2021
Distributed by: Roadside Attractions
Released in: Theaters

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