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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Quincea

    ‘Quincea’ntilde;era’ is the less-than-inspired story of two adolescents trying to find their place in a conservative society that has difficultly accepting them for who they are. Magdalena (Emily Rios), a 15 year-old high schooler, gets pregnant mere weeks before her ‘Quincea’ntilde;era,’ the traditional Hispanic fifteenth birthday party for a girl that celebrates her entrance into womanhood.

    When Magdalena’s family discovers that she is pregnant, her minister father kicks her out of the house and refuses to believe that she has never had sex. The twist? Magdalena is telling the truth. But believe me, she is no Virgin Mary.

    The second teen that we encounter is Carlos (Jesse Garcia), Magdalena’s trouble-making cousin who has been kicked out of his own house after his father caught him looking at gay porn. Carlos and Magdalena both move in with their kind and accepting great uncle Tomas (Chalo Gonz’aacute;lez), who is possibly the only real and substantial character in the film. His unconditional love combined with his gentle nature and somewhat complicated past takes him beyond the stereotypes that most of the other players tend to portray.

    Though at first glance it would seem that the stories of these two youths are greatly intertwined, but the bond between Magdalena and Carlos is virtually nonexistent until it magically solidifies out of nowhere in a time of grief. They lead very separate lives even though they are under the same roof, and the connection that they ultimately make is forced and unconvincing.

    The film jumps from scene to scene and plot to plot in an incongruous and arbitrary manner that depletes the impact of both storylines. While Magdalena is trying to force the baby’s immature and manipulative father into the picture, Carlos is lured into an affair with the gay couple next door, Gary (David Ross) and James (Jason L. Wood), who ‘love their Latin boys.’

    At some point, the issue of gentrification of urban areas gets thrown into the problem pot when the couple that Carlos is sleeping with begins to buy out the houses in the neighborhood, including T’iacute;o Tomas’s. Coincidentally (but really, not), the eviction notice arrives the day after James discovers that Gary has been having a romance with Carlos without James’s presence.

    The events of film, which start off as simply awkward and strange, ultimately feel convenient and contrived. The idealism of ‘Quincea’ntilde;era’ is disappointing in its lack of truth and its habit of always finding a quick fix. At the end, there is no sense of being challenged or of truly overcoming the odds, as all of Magdalena and Carlos’s problems seem to simply fade into the ether. I mean, are we really supposed to believe that hummer limo during her ‘Quincea’ntilde;era’ is a sufficient apology for being thrown out of the house and virtually disowned? I guess Magdalena is just easy to please.

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