Monday, February 20, 2012


I prefer to go to movies knowing as little as possible about their plots, preferably nothing, so I went into Mosquita y Mari with only a few keywords I'd scanned from the local film festival program--teenage girls, Los Angeles, Chicana, queer. I liked the sound of it but what is more predictable than an indie-film coming-of-age story? I came expecting it to be decent, flawed, another sympathetic sigh of a lesbian movie.

Instead, it was just good, good, good, all the way through, the kind of movie that fills your chest so the weight lasts for hours afterward. The film is about two fifteen-year-old girls in the Huntington Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. They go to high school, they study together, they find an abandoned chop shop that becomes their secret hangout, they pile onto a dirt bike, they share headphones, they wear tight black jeans every day, and they fall into an intense friendship. I have never seen a film that captured this kind of teen girl friendship so perfectly, the love and fascination and tension and jealousy of it.

The word "gay" never appears. None of the same old tropes of queer coming-of-age stories are recycled here. Instead a whole complex world, personal and cultural, engulfs you. I don't want to say anything about the plot or even post the trailer here because it contains some of my favorite moments in the film which are so subtle. But go see it. It is pitch-perfect in its nuance and understated intensity.

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