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How The Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer

About the Film
Year Released: 
Running Time: 

What does female desire look like? And how do self-inflicted limitations and social expectations shade and color it? In her tenderly comic, richly textured feature debut, Georgina Garcia Riedel lovingly explores the terrain of longing, loneliness, and self-realization among three generations of single women in a Mexican American family as they grapple with romantic drought.

As sweltering summer stretches over a sun-bleached Arizona border town, Doña Genoveva, the Garcia family matriarch, decides to buy a car. The only catch is that she doesn't know how to drive. When she enlists Don Pedro's pedagogical skills, sparks begin to fly--at her house and beyond. Her daughter, Lolita, played with deadpan poignancy by Elizabeth Peña, seems to have hit a dry spell until things start to sizzle at the butcher shop where she works. Meanwhile, Lolita's teenage daughter, Blanca, a radiant America Ferrera (from Real Women Have Curves), engineers an awakening all her own. It's as if the languid heat wave has thawed everyone's defenses and jump-started a sexual revolution.

Like the folks in the story, Riedel's camera never hurries, savoring the poetic vistas and lazy rhythms of the rural Southwest without resorting to sentimentality. Her three heroines are utterly human--full of idiosyncrasies and unexpected charms. In each of them is a distinctive, newly discovered sensuality, an engine that drives them forward, kicking up dust as they go.

Source:  Written by Caroline Libresco,

Poster Image: 
Film Director: 
Production Info
Reported or Estimated Budget: 
Somerton, Arizona
Categories About the Film
coming of age
coming of age
rural life
Racial/Ethnic Affiliation: 
Latin American
Filmmaking Team
Writer's Name: 
Georgina Riedel
Olga Arana, Jose C. Mangual, Georgina Riedel
Tobias Datum
Primary Cast: 
Elizabeth Peña , America Ferrera , Lucy Gallardo
Exhibition/Distribution Info
Maya Entertainment, Loosely Based Pictures
Box Office Earnings: 
Where to find it/How to get it: 
Streaming (Netflix or other online sites)

¨      World Premiere: 2005 Sundance Film Festival

¨      Nomination : 2005 Sundance Film Festival

¨      Won Best Unreleased Movie- 2008 Women’s Film Critic Circle

Personal Film Review and Cultural Context: 

Love, lust, judgment, and guilt know no age in Georgina Garcia Riedel’s 2005 film How The Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer. The film is a sun drenched narrative of three generations of mexican women and their individual encounters with love. Framed around the theme of men and their cars,  Riedel’s lingering camera lets the story of a teenage daughter’s virginity,  a sexually frustrated divorcee and a grandmother’s first time experiencing sex out of wedlock unfold.
The characters Lolita, Blanca, and Doña Genoveva, brought to life by America Ferrera, Elizabeth Peña, and the late Lucy Gallardo each travel a different road. As a family, these women collectively disrupt traditional mother daughter roles through humorous and snappy dialogue. As they each take chances, and make mistakes with their male counterparts, audience members will accompany the Garcia girls in the southwestern heat, and watch them revisit and re-connect with the complex pleasures of womanhood one Arizona summer.

Written by Quela Jules