Almost a Woman

An autobiographical story based on the life of writer Esmeralda "Negi" Santiago, "Almost a Woman" follows the young Negi (Ana Maria Lagasca) as she adjusts to life in Gotham after moving from her native Puerto Rico. Pic does good job showing Negi's culture shock, but drags in stretches, and despite some good scenes, listening to Lagasca pretend to speak English with a Spanish accent becomes grating.

With:
With: Wanda De Jesus, Miriam Colon, Cliff DeYoung, Ana Maria Lagasca, Francesco Quinn, Luis Garcia.

An autobiographical story based on the life of writer Esmeralda “Negi” Santiago, “Almost a Woman” follows the young Negi (Ana Maria Lagasca) as she adjusts to life in Gotham after moving from her native Puerto Rico. Pic does good job showing Negi’s culture shock, but drags in stretches, and despite some good scenes, listening to Lagasca pretend to speak English with a Spanish accent becomes grating. Pic is scheduled to run on PBS in September as part of Hispanic Heritage Month.

When Santiago’s mother (Wanda De Jesus) discovers her husband (Angelo Pagan) has a mistress, she moves the family from Puerto Rico to her mother’s (Miriam Colon) house in Brooklyn. Oldest daughter Negi, a bright child with an interest in poetry, struggles to learn English and fit in. When a school guidance counselor (Cliff DeYoung) hears Negi read poetry in Spanish, he recommends a transfer to a performing arts school for gifted students in Manhattan. She’s accepted, but as the stakes increase, she is further drawn away from her Puerto Rican culture.

Almost a Woman

Production: An Alt Films production. Produced by Ronald Colby. Executive producers, Marian Rees. Anne Hopkins, Stephen Kulczycki. Directed by Betty Kaplan. Screenplay, Esmeralda Santiago.

Crew: Camera (color), Carlos Gonzales; editor, Luis Colina; music, Lee Holdridge; costume designer, Eduardo Castro. Reviewed at New York Latino Film Festival, July 17, 2002. Running time: 94 MIN.

With: With: Wanda De Jesus, Miriam Colon, Cliff DeYoung, Ana Maria Lagasca, Francesco Quinn, Luis Garcia.

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