How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer
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Summer is a time for love—for June weddings and summer flings. And in the indie dramedy How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer, three women learn that you don’t have to be young to enjoy a summer romance.

For years, the women in the Garcia family have learned to get by on their own—but one summer, they learn that there’s more to life than just getting by.

Blanca (America Ferrera) is a teenager who spends the long, summer days hanging out with her friends. But when Sal (Leo Minaya), the new boy in town (who may or may not have trouble in his past) takes an interest in her, she leaves her friends behind and starts spending her days riding around in Sal’s truck.

Meanwhile, Blanca’s single mom, Lolita (Elizabeth Peña), runs the family’s butcher shop. She spends so much time working—and caring for her daughter and her mother—that she never takes the time to unwind. But Victor Reyes (Steven Bauer), the handsome husband of one of her customers, could make her change her mind.

Even the family’s matriarch, Doña Genoveva (Lucy Gallardo), still has a lesson or two to learn—like how to drive a car. When her gardener, Don Pedro (Jorge Cervera), offers to teach her, she finds out what her life’s been missing.

How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer is a plain and simple independent film that tells three stories about three women and their unexpected summer romances. The stories are somewhat familiar, but the close-knit family dynamics—and the small-town gossip—still add a fun twist or two. The women spend so much time worrying about each other’s reputations and worrying about what the people in their tiny rural town will think—yet they bristle when the same concerns are thrown back at them. And their blind, often misguided “concern” for each other gives the film some memorable comic moments.

At the same time, though, this isn’t a snappy, quick-witted comedy. Though there are plenty of laughs, Garcia Girls is actually a rather sleepy film, moving along at a relaxed, deliberate pace. In fact, the film often goes through long stretches without any dialogue at all—just quiet scenes that follow the women as they go about their daily routine. Sometimes it works well—but at other times, it can also feel long, drawn-out, and even a bit awkward.

Still, the lovable characters and the delightful comic surprises often balance out the relaxed pace and awkward moments, making How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer a slow but enjoyable reminder that love isn’t just for the young.

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