Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It 2021 Movie Review
The dive into facets of the trailblazing Latina provides a fascinating and heartbreaking perspective on an actress wanting her chance at success and the abuses of the industry she faced on the unabashed Rita Moreno: A Girl Who Just Decided to Go for It.
This in-depth look at the origins of Rita Moreno, from her birth in rural Humacao, Puerto Rico, to her upbringing in a divided New York City and subsequently her move to Hollywood, offers a seemingly unguarded view at it all.
There are no attempts at obfuscating the facts of Moreno’s life, especially earlier on in her career. It’s heartbreaking to hear how she was subjected to unwanted sexual advances from the men that controlled the entire trajectory of her career from the moment she heads out to Hollywood in her late teens.
These stories parallel Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s Congressional testimony used throughout the documentary. Poignantly conveying that as much as time separates Rita’s horrifying experiences of being harassed by industry executives and being raped by her agent, the issues remain very much the same from the inciting incidents leading up to the hearing.
Moreno peels back layers of herself throughout the two-hour documentary, opening about some of the more personal moments in her life in a stunningly matter-of-fact way. That only compounds the shock and heartbreak as you sit and watch everything she’s been subjected to while maintaining a resilient mindset.
While A Girl Who Just Decided to Go for It parallels Moreno’s personal and professional history with current events in a way that sometimes feels shoehorned. But, for the most part, does a good job tying it all together.
The actress’s frank manner in discussing, in a vague way, connotes a sense of discomfort with some aspects of the story, her abortion. That event is the catalyst that put her on the path towards activism for reproductive justice.
Perhaps the most shocking and moving moments are her discussions on therapy, mental health, and some incredibly harrowing moments where she contemplated ending her own life.
These aren’t aspects of Moreno’s life I’ve ever been familiar with but seeing someone at that stage of her life and seeing everything she’s seen advocating for mental health, hailing from a culture that generally sees outside interference into matters like this as something to be ashamed of, very encouraging.
Rita Moreno doesn’t shy away from past mistakes either, commenting on missteps, owning up to them, and giving context to the situations. From the brownface she was put in early on in her career (even in West Side Story) to the accents and the stereotypical roles she was forced into to make it to the next level in her career.
There’s a deeply appreciated rawness to her comments during each segment that doesn’t hide away from the ugly parts that make the two-hour journey through the life and times of Rita Moreno so engaging.
Ultimately, A Girl Who Just Decided to Go for It offers viewers perspective on presumed to be happy-go-lucky and the struggles she’s had to navigate to become the person she is, going beyond her notable film, stage, and television career.
- The Rita Hayworth comparisons are interesting, especially when looking at the paths both women ultimately took in Hollywood. Both have their beginnings in dance with varying amounts of success when it comes to assimilating to the Hollywood ideal of beauty.
- The documentary genuinely surprises, offering a whole new side to Rita Moreno that is not much talked about and just stopped me in my tracks a few times, including her tumultuous relationship with Marlon Brando.
- The documentary hosts an impressive roster of participants, and it’s so interesting to get so many different perspectives on the iconic woman.
- Moreno’s career trajectory is impressive, and seeing it mapped out in this way is so entertaining.