The New Yorker

Women Is Losers

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The first feature by the writer and director Lissette Feliciano is a brisk and bright-toned tale of personal struggle amid political obstacles. It’s set in San Francisco in the late sixties and early seventies and is centered on Celina Guerrera (Lorenza Izzo), a smart and ambitious student in a Catholic high school. When her boyfriend, Mateo (Bryan Craig), returns from the Vietnam War—wounded and traumatize­d—she becomes pregnant, and only another woman’s horrific experience deters Celina from seeking an abortion (then illegal). She leaves home to escape her abusive stepfather (Steven Bauer), but as a single mother— with a Hispanic name—she has trouble getting housing. She struggles to find a job, and, when she does, she’s a target of sexual harassment, as well as a beneficiar­y of wise counsel from supervisor­s (played by Simu Liu and Liza Weil). Throughout, Celina punctures the fourth wall, as Feliciano makes explicit the historical perspectiv­e on which the action runs. Feliciano’s view of painful injustice and ordinary heroism is marred only by the superficia­l rapidity with which Celina overcomes her hardships.—R.B. (Streaming on HBO Max.)

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