User Reviews (33)

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  • Though some of the acting was a little stiff, the situations and dialogue were genuine and a pleasure to experience. Not only are the situations relatable, the characters are people that you know. Scott Bakula, always fantastic, is a treasure in this picture. The music is varied and wonderful. I rarely purchase movies for my permanent collection, but this is one I will be adding. The story holds up. The writing is outstanding. DVD extras round out the fun. As for a previous comment regarding how the characters speak depending upon who they are with - who doesn't do that? When we speak with our elders and our employers, a certain level of respect and sentence structure is required. When we talk with our friends, casually in a group over a beer, the language needn't be so structured.
  • It was funny and I enjoyed it. I have sat at tables with a group of Latinas and heard similar comments. This movie was about a group of friends whose commonality was their ethnicity. The ladies were letting loose and having fun. And as an audience participant, I was having fun watching them.

    I had to disagree with the other reviewer. Just because a woman is a "professional" doesn't mean that she has to use the lingo of her trade all the time. And have heard "professionals" who, away from the job, revert back to their comfort speech. That is what these ladies were doing.
  • Whew! I was looking forward to seeing this film for its (I thought) wonderfully diverse content; there are far too few films with such subject matter and cast, but YIKES!

    SO poorly written, SO poorly acted!! It made me so disappointed that the writer tried to fit every stereotype she could into her dialogue, scenes that were forced to fit in all the cliches, forced to fit in contrived "confrontations" and GOD-AWFUL ACTING!!! I don't know what happened to some of these actresses, I've seen many of them in other roles, and they've been very good, but it seems as though they all sank to the level of the film.

    It's too bad that this will be held up as an example of Latina filmmaking, it will probably make other producers shy away from tackling content like this in the future.
  • I found Luminarias to be a well formulated movie that shows the lighter side of Mexican American women of today. The stereotypical depictions had me on the floor. I would recommend this movie to anyone. I found the characters endearing. The writer was definitely in touch with her audience and formulated it very well. The overall cast of characters were perfect for this film. All the characters played out their roles perfectly. One of the high points was addressing common misconceptions within the Latin community with regard to stereotypes and how they play out into reality sometimes. The more we know about others their is definitely more to enjoy.
  • I had a great time watching this movie. I don't know what critics want, but I think they miss subtle nuances that are culturally relevant.

    On that note, I also think they are taking meanings within the film too deeply. Sometimes shallow is good.

    I really enjoyed some of the hidden jokes which you can only understand, if you grew up in a Hispanic household, or have lived in that environment.

    If you did, then you'll really enjoy this film.

    I had a good time.

    My wife enjoyed it so much, she went and bought a copy, and thats saying a lot. hehe

    anyway, thats my 2 cents.
  • This is exactly the style of movie I have dreamed of screen writing is as long as i can remember. Like mentioned above, this movie has been named a Latina "Waiting to Exhale" but it deserves its own recognition. I see the comparison and it is shameful that a strong ethnic, female based film is so easily categorized and thrown with others so quickly. Both offer main character situations that I recall stirred controversy in that audiences found it false to see women in such strong characters, and being that they are ethnic in US in present times. It's liberating to see characters like this. I wish to work with this cast in my future. Thank you, Luminarias. And yes, going to the restaurant now really brings out my appreciation for the film out.
  • It's evident that this film is a labor of love! I think any one from any culture can relate to it. We're all dealing with cultural fusion and as we encounter diverse cultures and fall in love, we all have to stretch ourselves and gain appreciation and understanding of each other.

    I found it sweet, charming, funny, engaging, and it's beautifully filmed and performed by a dynamite cast.

    Does Scott Bakula EVER age?! He looks great, as always. It's nice to have him and Robert Beltran in one movie--two of my favorites. What a treat!

    Other great movies in this vein: "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" and "Catfish in Black Bean Sauce".

    The DVD commentary about the "making of" is also engaging. This film is a "Mom and Pop" venture, with the lead's real-life son as her movie son. That relationship adds a wonderful dimension to their scenes together.

    The Latino community pulled together to get it made, so it's really from a grassroots effort straight from the heart of a community that needs it voice. Bravo!!!
  • I found Luminarias to be an amazing movie for teaching about interracial relationships, stereotyping, white privilege, and the impact of (post)colonization. The film allows for discussion of how everyone stereotypes. The stereotyping in this film is not just engaged in by the Latina actresses. I must admit, it can perpetuate stereotypes of Latinas/os, but not if it is taken as intended by the script writers. People who think this film does nothing but perpetuate stereotypes and reflect the stereotyping of Latinas is missing the larger picture. The issues of race, class, gender, discrimination, stereotyping, etc., are all brought to the forefront in a comical way. As a professor, I view this film as an opportunity to build bridges by pointing out the fact that EVERYONE stereotypes. This film is not about Latinas stuck in the days of the Chicano Movement. These are women who were products of the Chicano Movement and who do represent the thoughts and feelings of MANY U.S. born Latinas who identify as Chicanas, in particular those who have had very little exposure to people not of their own ethnic/racial heritages. This is much the same for members of other cultures who do not leave their comfortable zones. Unfortunately, many individuals who are more assimilated and/or who have grown up among members of the dominant U.S. culture (read Whites) tend to view the women as unrealistic and are often offended by the portrals. Of course they would appear this way to people who do not have the same frame of reference (worldviews) as the women depicted. Remember, the women were born and raised in East LA, not in New York, Wisconsin, Florida, Chicago, or the South. Latinos are all over the U.S. and are very diverse. The stories these women tell cannot be generalized to all Latinos or Chicanas for that matter. However, the depictions are relatively real for many Chicanas, born and raised in predominately Chicano communities. What I like the most about the film is the fact that in the end, the women learn about themselves and realize people are people no matter what their cultural/ethnic/racial heritages.
  • A true waste of celluloid. I feel that the makers of this film have robbed me not only of the price of admission, but of about two hours of my life, time that could have been used productively, time that will never be given back to me.

    Halfway through the film, the viewer will ask the question, "What is the purpose of this film?" This movie is nothing more than a vehicle for portraying racist stereotypes.

    I was going to rate this movie, but that's impossible. There is no way to give a film as bad as "LUMINARIAS" a numerical rating. Nothing, not very small decimals, not zero, not negative numbers, can quantify just how awful this film really is. To do so would render all numbers meaningless. "LUMINARIAS" is so bad that if I were forced, at gun point, to rate it, it would get a score of : Satan Clubbing Newborn Babies to Death out of 100.
  • Lower your expectations now, Luminarias is about as deep as the typical Hollywood produced romantic comedy. But unlike that mainstream fluff, Luminarias has a beautiful (and sexy) multicultural cast and quite a few fun and atypical romantic couplings: older women and younger men, almost every possible type of interracial relationship, rich women and poor men, and even a random gay relative. The main flaw--at times it seems that the movie is trying a bit too hard to counteract every stereotype in most mainstream romances. Considering how many stereotypes abound in say, a Freddie Prinze Jr movie, that's a lot to make up for in a low-budget film. Bonus points for including a woman-centered sex scene.
  • janybkla23 February 2001
    I've see this movie four times and can't wait to own it on home video. Scott Bakula is wonderful in romantic roles, and its a kick to see Robert Beltran as the cheating husband rather than the self-controlled Chakoty on STAR TREK: VOYAGER. Lily's storyline is weak and Irene's and Sophia's could be covered more, but the friendship between these women is realistic and enjoyable. Its interesting to see prejudice from the Latin point of view, but this movie is not limited to race. One message is that we all need love and friendship and we're more alike than different.
  • I thought it was an excellent movie. I enjoyed watching 4 professional Latina women struggling with their personal demons. I enjoyed the dialogue, it was smart and downright funny. What I enjoyed the most about the movie was that I could relate to it or have known people in those very same situations. You don't have to be a Latina to be caught up in life as those 4 women were. I've enjoyed this movie so much I've watched it three times. Each time bring new friends to watch it along with me.
  • I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and so did my companion. Luminarias has drama, humor and relevance to the lives of all of us. It is not just a "chick flick" and is more than a Latina "Waiting to Exhale!" When you leave the theatre, you really care about what happened to the characters. Evelina is supremely talented. The other main characters were multi-dimensional. Really enjoyed the "Lilly" character. She has great timing. I have already seen this four times and can hardly wait for it to come out on video, so I can share it with more of my friends. Que viva Luminarias!
  • I can relate to this Movie. Some strong points are brought up in this film revolving around the stereotypical thinking of Anglos. It's great to see that alot of latinos were used here not just as actors but as producers, writers, and crew! WAKE UP HOLLYWOOD!!!!!! We need more lead Brown actors on the BIG SCREEN. IT's their time now. LAtinos make up for almost 50% of the profits in Hollywood's pockets. Make movies that they can relate to like this one. VIVA LOS LATINOS AMERICANOS!
  • This is a latino version of Sex in the City. Many great moments, especially Cheech Marin's small but important scenes. It is romantic, comical and heart-warming. It is not stereotypical because we never get to see upscale Latinos in the majority of movies today. They don't have to prove they are professional, because their lifestyle exposes it in a subtle manner. Most importantly the characters are real and every ethic group can identify with them. I can't wait to see more movies like this where Latinos are more than gang-bangers, drug dealers and poor illegal immigrants. This movie is a good step in the direction many have been waiting for.
  • "Waiting to Exhale" goes Latina. On initial viewing that is how I summed it up. But this little gem keeps growing on you and I can't resist watching it whenever it turns up on HBO. The plot has some weak points and can be somewhat predictable but this has to be seen as somewhat of a breakthrough in latino film making...some of the creme de la creme among hispanic/latino actors, written, starring and produced by a Latina (yes, female). Actors who have taken the reins in producing their own product: KUDOS! A very sexy Scott Bakula (who would have thunk it?), sexy Robert Beltran, four very sexy women who are GASP over thirty! and a FABULOUS soundtrack (made me rethink "India" whom I was never a fan of before). Wonderful cameos by Cheech Marin, Lupe Ontiveros, Liz Torres, Pepe Serna, et al.If it didn't grab you first time around, give it another shot,it'll grow on yo
  • Bravo! It is refreshing to se a Latino story from the inside out. The diversity of perspectives were accurately captured with an endearing sense of humor. I am in awe of the high quality of work done on such a low budget. The story was interesting and basic in irs formula - what made it special is that it gave a real Latino insiders' view on society. The humor, the great humor! Every line hit its mark. The acting was phenomenal. i could sense the pride each of the Latino actors had to work on a Latino yet universal story. Thank you Evelina Fernández for writing, producing and acting in such an important breakthrough piece. You illuminated the various political and social attitudes Latinos/Chicanos in LA embody. Thank you for bringing this important project to life. This movie is THE REAL THING! IT delivered what was promised by MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING (which was a complete copout). Evelina Fernández, Thank you for addressing The Chicano Movement and showing that it is really alive. We are making progress. Those of us educated in college in the 1970's have been working hard for social change all these years. You gave it our voice in your Romantic Comedy. Thank You, Daniel Madrid - a fan, an artist, and short story writer in your Romantic Comedy. Thank You, Daniel Madrid - a fan, an artist, and short story writer
  • This is a movie that all women should watch, not only Latinas. It shows how women can be totally happy one day thinking they have the perfect family and the next day find out that their husband is cheating on them. It also shows how Latinas should open up their eyes and discover that there are also other men out there, that they don't have to date within their own race. It will make you laugh and cry. It will change the way you look at life.
  • ritmason23 February 2001
    I can't wait to see this film out on video. I would love to also buy this film for my home collection. I really enjoyed this film because it made me laugh, but at the same time, talked about real-life situations. As a Tejana in a relationship with a Mexican, the film brought up topics that hit close to home. There were also parts in the movie that were really paradigm shifts.
  • "Luminarias" is a very different film from the typical. We get to know four diverse professional Latina ladies and their personal stories. We learn the difficulties of their lives, and what they hope for in the future. What actually happens to each of them may be totally unexpected. The film is very warm, very funny, disturbing and touching, all at once, with fine acting and some surprise appearances.

    I feel this film will appeal to a general mature audience, but ladies of all types will especially enjoy it. When I viewed the film in the theater, women in the audience were identifying so much with the characters and what they were saying, that many were answering out-loud to the screen. All-in-all, a very good theater experience.
  • I have now watched Luminarias four times, and each time I enjoy it more. As a Latina, it struck so many chords, and did so so very accurately, it was almost frightening! The Andrea, Irene, and Sofia characters are well-cast, as are Joseph's and Joe's characters. The aunts (Concha and Tonia) were straight out of my family (and every other Latina who watched this). There were lots of good 'laughing at ourselves' remarks or scenes, such as the Ph.D brother, drug dealer cousin, Irene's costuming. I can't wait until I can buy a copy of my own! This has also made me research Evelina Fernandez's work for other insights into Latino culture.
  • THE MOVIE "LUMINARIAS" IS SIMPLY AWESOME!!! If you have not seen it, then I just know someone will be smart enough to pick up on Video-and then you can join the rest of us that truly know this Movie is a must see for everyone!!! This Movie just has to to be picked up on Video-I mean "LUMINARIAS" has got it all! "LUMINARIAS" has a fantastic script, an awesome cast, and the best soundtrack, (which reminds me-I can't wait for my "LUMINARIAS" soundtrack too!)-oh and of course this Movie is a super rollercoaster of a ride in emotions that go way beyond laughter and tears. "LUMINARIAS" reaches down into your very being! Everyone can relate to the main character "Andrea" she a tough, tenacious human-being with compasion for life and for doing what is right and just. "Andrea" finds out what we all have in life, and that is: if you want to make it in this world then you've got to be a "certain way". However when you finally do make it, you find out sometimes that you've compromised a little of yourself in the process-which can lead to terrible un-happiness.

    Still "LUMINARIAS" solves the "mystery of life" by taking us on a journey. The journey uncovers all those superficial layers within ourselves. This is one journey with an ending that makes us each acutely aware that, it's not just "o.k." to be our "true selves"-it's a requirment! "LUMINARIAS" is one experience that begs the question by helping us all to see, "the road less traveled". Often times in life we get caught up in these mindless patterns that make it all too easy for us to miss out on the real passions that we each have to give. The Movie helps us to relate in that each of the main characters is grapeling to find their true identities. One of the characters, tries again and again to make a "bad" marriage good by ignoring the telling signs, like so many of us do. Another character, hurt by experiences with racism tries to submurge herself into another culture by shutting out her own. Still another character scared to be alone in life goes from one relationship to another, only to find she that cannot be truly happy with someone else until she has first learned to discover her own happiness within herself. Yet as the main characters in this Movie each successfully surrender to themselves-we begin to see that life can be "one meanifull adventure"!!!

    "LUMINARIAS" means light in English-so to quote another movie, "step into the light" and experience the awakening for yourself!

    Thank you, Michelle-A true "LUMINARIAS" fan w/spelling challenges!
  • This movie is a heart-warming story about four latina women who value friendship and love. It's a well written story that tells it like it is in dealing with everyday struggles of life. Which makes it so realistic because it touches on relationships,self-identities and self-esteem. The story is so real involving interracial relationships, dealing with discrimination and trying to find themselves all in one. It's a must see movie for all people who like drama,love and laughter. Guaranteed for all women to enjoy as well as men.
  • Luminarias is a wonderful film – bright, warm, funny and touching. Of course it has a distinctively Latino voice, flavor and rhythm. Yet it depicts such universal themes: the capacity to endure betrayal and regain trust, the loyalty between old friends, the constancy of family, the relationships between different generations, the attempt to release old pain, the struggle to learn how to value diversity yet validate one's own identity and the serendipity of finding love with the most unlikely people. The performances of the entire cast especially the four female leads are truly memorable. You come away feeling as if you've known these women all your life, seen their strengths and their weaknesses and love them as fiercely as they love each other. Cheech Marin is irreverent, irascible and offhandedly affecting as Andrea's older brother. Sal Lopez is a real delight as Sofia's fiancé. Both deferential and at the same time confident and self-possessed, it's easy to see why she falls for him.

    Scott Bakula gives a lovely performance as the romantic lead. His Joseph Levinson is all tender, gentle charm, romantic yet respectful, a little tentative with a hint of loneliness perhaps sadness beneath the veneer of the savvy lawyer. In response to Andrea's pain, he portrays, as only he can, that exquisitely genuine empathy that seems to begin at soul depth then rise up into his eyes. When he meets Andrea's extended family at her Mama's birthday party, his slightly bewildered, self-effacing, totally unselfconscious amusement at his own expense, not to mention his marvelous sense of comedic timing are just perfect.

    This thoroughly enjoyable film has much to tell us about our Latino neighbors, about our society and about ourselves. Both highly entertaining and very enlightening, it should not be missed and eminently deserves wide distribution in the home video market. I'll be first in line to purchase my copy!
  • This movie really reflected the many prejudices we have, not only race, but also age and social status. The characters and their dilemmas are very real. I also enjoyed the music as it gave us a sample of the many "moods" of latin music. The story is contemporary but the issues are timeless. I strongly recommend this movie. Of all the movies I have seen this past year, Luminarias was only one of a couple that was both thought provoking and entertaining.
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