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Girl in Progress Review Critics


Dave White Profile

In reverse. Read full review


Grae Drake Profile

Twee for tweens. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 25

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    This inauthentic teen tale, with its cosmetically softened edges, serves neither the young people nor the Mendes fans for whom it might be intended.

    Read Full Review

  • 38

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    Ansiedad is a smart charmer, and well-played by Cierra Ramirez, she should really be above this sort of thing - above the whole movie, really.

    Read Full Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Pause for kids 14 & under

Coming-of-age story cautions against forcing adulthood.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that even though there's plenty of questionable behavior from both parents and teens in Girl in Progress, it's also a cautionary tale about what happens when you try to be an adult before you're ready for the consequences. In the main teen character's search for rites of passage to experience, she insults and dumps her best friend, steals money from her mother, changes her appearance, manipulates an adult into buying alcohol, and plans to lose her virginity to the school's resident "player." The language is mostly insults (particularly the word "retarded" and its derivatives), but sexual content includes some mature scenes of the mother and her married lover kissing (sex is implied) and a sequence in which a teen casually tries to schedule her "deflowering" (she's shown stripping to her panties and bra, and the guy is seen shirtless as he fumbles with a condom). This is the kind of coming-of-age tale that can spark substantive conversations between parents and kids.

  • Families can talk about Girl in Progress' central message about coming of age. How is adolescence portrayed in the movie? Do high schoolers typically experience rites of passage as part of a checklist or timeline?
  • Ansiedad engages in "rebellious" teen behavior in a forced, formulaic manner that almost makes light of teen sexuality and drinking. Is Ansiedad's attitude about sex realistic? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.
  • How is Grace and Ansiedad's mother-daughter relationship portrayed? How was it unhealthy? Is it a realistic look at the dynamic between single moms and their kids?
  • The insult "retard" is used in various forms throughout the movie. Even though it's not technically a curse word, it's widely considered a hurtful taunt that shouldn't be said. Do you think it's appropriate for the word to be used, even for the sake of authenticity?
  • Ansiedad isn't fond of her very Spanish-sounding name. How is her ethnicity explored in the movie? Is being Latina a positive thing or a negative thing for Ansiedad? Why?

The good stuff
  • message true2

    Messages: Girl in Progress illustrates the importance of open communication between parents and children. Grace isn't really aware of what Ansiedad is going through, and it causes an emotional rift that could have been avoided had the two talked more openly and shared their feelings. Ansiedad's misguided attempt to grow up offers an important example of how trying to act like a grown-up before you're ready is a bad idea. She hurts her best friend, nearly destroys her academic career, and nearly has sex for the worst of reasons.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: Not many positive role models, especially considering that Grace is openly the "other woman" in an adulterous relationship and actually flaunts the affair in front of her daughter. (But to her credit, Grace doesn't steal or take money from her lover to pay for Ansiedad's tuition.) The doctor doesn't seem to mind carrying on his affair while lying to his wife. Ansiedad is a shiftless teen desperate to become an adult: she lies, steals, manipulates, and insults others as long as it's part of her rite-of-passage checklist.

What to watch for
  • violence false0

    Violence: Not applicable

  • sex false3

    Sex: Ansiedad describes her mother as promiscuous, and Grace is shown getting ready in a sexy outfit to meet her lover, a married man. Grace and the doctor are shown half dressed on the floor (presumably after sex); they kiss a few times. Ansiedad tells a guy she wants him to "take her virginity" at a party; they proceed to share a kiss (her first), and then the guy is shown shirtless in the bathroom fumbling with a condom. Ansiedad strips down to her bra and panties and then throws her panties on the floor. Although they don't end up having sex, they run out of the room, and everyone calls Ansiedad a slut, as the guy says, "I hit that."

  • language false2

    Language: Teens say the word "retarded" or "tard" many times, and in one scene, a bunch of people chant the word "slut" to Ansiedad. One girl is called "fat" and a "cow." Language also includes "stupid," "shoot," "damn," etc.

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: Grace drives her friend's old Volvo wagon, and a BMW is shown a couple of times. A Macbook Pro makes a brief appearance.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Teens drink -- a lot -- at a couple of parties. Ansiedad convinces an adult to buy a bottle of tequila (under the premise that it's a birthday gift for her mother), and she gives it to the group throwing the party. A couple of adults smoke cigarettes and/or a pipe. Graces drinks so much at a party that she wakes up hung over. A male nurse at a home for the elderly regularly drinks from a hidden flask.