Women Is Losers is what stories are made of. It is a story that creates empathy for those different than oneself and leaves the viewer with a new compassion they didn't have before.
Lisette Feliciano’s feature debut explores the true meaning of “pulling yourself up by the bootstraps”: frustrating, exciting, and full of twists.
The film centers on Celina Guerrera (Lorenza Izzo), a catholic school girl who finds herself having to grow up fast when she sneaks out to see a recently discharged Vietnam vet. The
audience watches as Celina struggles to care for her family and make a life for herself.
Feliciano’s writing is one of the film’s greatest strengths, crafting a story that guides the
audience through challenges that many women of color faced in the 60’s and 70’s. We are able to easily see how Celina faces misogyny, unplanned pregnancy, familial pressures, and mounting disadvantages that lead her to fight for a new path.
While the plot seems depressing, the tone is anything but sad. Feliciano creates a young and hungry feeling throughout - even down to the production design, lighting, and overall feeling her indie small budget production creates.
At times, the tone wavers as characters break the fourth wall when it feels unnecessary to do so. The film is definitely ambitious, but sometimes seems to get ahead of itself. The opening sequences in particular stand out, as we are watching Lorenza Izzo play a high school girl when she is clearly much older. The production design in these scenes feels less intentional than the other locations, and it takes the viewer out of the moment. It sometimes wavers in its ability to succeed at making this sarcastic yet emotional tone work, but by minute thirty it hits its stride.
Yet all this is overpowered by Feliciano's direction and vision. It is the perfect weaving of comedy, drama, subtlety, and symbolism. Each anecdote and moment comes full circle, allowing Celina to see things from her past in a new light, and leaving the audience with subtle advice they will recall for years to come.
By the end of the film, we are left fulfilled and thoughtful about the impact of Roe v. Wade, love, determination, and grit. The ending is a perfect mix of satisfaction and uncertainty - a feat that is normally very difficult to pull off. Despite the few flaws, the film's unique tone and eloquent storytelling makes this film one of the best of the year for a first time feature director.
Feliciano excels in creating the “American Dream” through the eyes of a Latinx cast and crew. To young women of color everywhere, she simply says: We hear you. And we will succeed.
Image Credit: Women is Losers official poster, IMDb