By: Amanda Guarragi
As we all know Rita Moreno has always been a national treasure and her spirit is the most beautiful thing about her. Moreno has had such a lengthy career and after watching this deeply personal documentary, you realize just how much she has been through. Director Mariem Pérez Riera created a beautiful piece that focused on who she really was and it truly makes you fall in love with her even more. Not only does Riera explore the icon of Moreno, she explores her identity. What it truly meant to be Rita Moreno, in all her hardships and her glory.
There is so much to learn from Moreno in this documentary. I loved that this was made while she was still with us because she is the only one who can tell her story. Moreno has had such a difficult life both mentally and physically. She has overcome so much in her personal life and her own career. She has moulded herself into so many different characters that she realized, she wasn’t a fully formed person because of how she felt about herself. She did what she had to do to please the others around her, essentially sacrificing her identity and who she wanted to be. You can say that’s the studio system, damaging the self esteem of women, back in the day, but it ran much deeper than that.
Early in her career, Moreno took any role that she could get and she slowly realized that they were all the same. She was playing the general stereotype for any film and it slowly ate at her. Is this the career that she planned on having? Slowly, as time went on, and after seeing how awful the producers were in Hollywood, it affected her mentally. The fact that actresses in Hollywood were just considered sex symbols and nothing more, especially because she was Latina, is incredibly damaging. She had to put on an accent, she had to act sexier, she had to be this object to please all the men, in order to have a job.
This documentary shows the highs and lows of her life, the traumatic experiences that she went through and the child inside her that held her together. Rita Moreno is a beast of a woman, she is a brilliant performer, an icon for the Latino community and a pioneer for women everywhere. This documentary highlights who she truly is and that’s the most beautiful thing that it could have done for her. Moreno will be remembered as the embodiment of light and love.