Monday Movie Review: From Prada to Nada

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From Prada to Nada is a modern adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility” with a Mexican-American twist. Sisters Nora (Camilla Belle) and Mary (Alex Peña Vega) Dominguez lived a charmed life in Beverly Hills until their father’s sudden death leaves them penniless. The two girls move in with an unfamiliar aunt in the barrio of East LA.

The movie is about equal parts nod to Jane Austen and celebration of Mexican culture. The traditional story of riches to rags, and learning to cope in a drastically new environment, is infused with a storyline of younger sister Mary learning to embrace the heritage she has long rejected.

Things I liked: I have loved Austen adaptations since the first of several hundred times I watched Clueless (based on “Emma”). While this movie is less faithful than others (the third younger sister is eliminated and the living mother in the novel is deceased in the movie, for example), the central plot and themes remained the same.

I also really enjoyed the Mexican heritage storyline. This movie is pretty clearly aimed at teens, which has never stopped me from enjoying a movie. I think it is a good choice for parents to watch with their older kids and teens, especially as Mexican culture is so derided in the United States. The depth and beauty of Mexican-American culture is showcased in a way that inspires appreciation.

Things I didn’t like: There was very little I didn’t like, personally. Movie reviewers generally give the story a middle rating near 60%, not great but not terrible either. I have noticed it is practically impossible for any movie with a teen girl audience to get a high rating, so I suspect femmephobia, ageism, and misogyny factor into that scoring.

I give this picture 4/5 stars. It’s entertaining and generally light hearted, a good comfort movie option after a long day with appreciation for Mexican culture. With a PG-13 rating, it’s pretty family friendly, and femme, choice.

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