Saturday, 7 May 2011

FROM PRADA TO NADA - AUSTEN GOES TO LA, EAST LA

Sense and Sensibility has inspired this film released in the US in January 2011. From Prada to Nada  DVD has been released soon after. I wanted to see it, as I'm always very curious to anything Austen inspired coming out. I didn't expect an Oscar - worth movie and I was ok with it. I mean, I wasn't too disappointed. I got just what I expected.
The popularization of classics is something I can even appreciate. Provided that, to keep them to the masses involves at least respect for the original and, especially, does not completely  forget quality and decency.  
Was this film bad? Not bad, it was quite pleasant actually. Naive and romantic, light and delightful, full of clichés but bearable. Don't look for much Austen in it, though. Austen is much more than shallow comedy and romance. Maybe people who don't know anything about Sense and Sensibility can enjoy it a lot. Three out of five stars.


The story


Two sisters from Beverly Hills learn how the other side lives after their father dies unexpectedly, and they're taken in by their estranged aunt in East L.A. Nora  and Mary grew up in a sprawling mansion, so far removed from their Mexican roots that Mary refuses to even acknowledge her heritage. Then, in a flash, their father is gone, and they're both left without two pennies to rub together. They discover they have a half brother with an awfully greedy wife who wants to sell their house to pay their debts. Fortunately, Nora and Mary have their kind-hearted Aunt Aurelia (Adriana Barraza) to fall back on. Aunt Aurelia only lives a short distance away, but Boyle Heights is so steeped in Latino culture that it may as well be on another planet.


Unable to speak a word of Spanish and completely ignorant about their culture, Nora and Mary leave their comfortable world kicking and screaming. But the more time Nora and Mary spend getting to know their extended family, the more they begin to get a sense of what they've been missing by remaining locked in their ivory tower all these years. Before long, Nora and Mary begin to regard their Mexican heritage with a sense of pride rather than shame, and realize that all the money in the world can't buy the happiness of begin surrounded and supported by family (from http://www.allrovi.com )

The main characters


Elinor -  Nora Dominguez (Camilla Belle)


Camilla Belle as Nora

I've built my whole life on the only one thing I can control, which is my career... this is what Nora believes in, her shield against suffering. But, suddenly, her father dies and she's left alone with her sister, no money and a huge amount of debts. She dreams of becoming a brilliant lawyer and working for the civil service, helping poor people.

Edward and Nora


Edward Ferrars - Edward Ferris (Nicholas D'Agosto)


I've never liked Edward Ferrars much but I liked his counterpart here in this movie quite a lot. Nicholas D'Agosto portrays a tender, sensitive but, at the same time, self - confident young lawyer with a swooning smile. He immediately falls for Nora and wants to help her offering her a job in his firm. They hit it off at once and become a brilliant team together. If only Nora wasn' t so scared of her own feelings ...

Nicholas D'Agosto as Edward Ferris


Marianne -  Mary Dominguez (Alexa Vega)


Alexa Vega as Mary


"I love the colour red, my iPod is full, I don't wake up before 10.00 and no hablo espanol. I love poetry, pasta and Prada".  This is how she introduces herself to Rodrigo, the fascinating TA giving lessons in her course at college, for whom she immediately falls, right after his first impressive class about Garcìa Lorca. They have a brief but intense, passionate affair. But later on, while she thinks he's away in Mexico,  she discovers he is a liar and a rake. She'll run away in despair from the party where he is a guest too and will have a terrible car crash.

Rodrigo and Mary


Willoughby - Rodrigo Fuentes (Kuno Becker)


Kuno Becker as Rodrigo
If you are lucky enough to meet a TA like him at college, you won't skip a lesson! Even if you are spoilt, lazy, shallow Mary Dominguez. If only he wasn't that good a liar, if only he wasn't ...
He  is a rogue. I've always somewhat forgiven Willloughby, thinking he was really in love with Marianne but too ... penniless! But this Rodrigo here is unforgivable. Though very handsome.

Colonel Brandon - Bruno (Wilmer Valderrama)


Alexa Vega and Wilmer Valderrama


Well, actually, meeting him like this... you can't recognize any sign of Colonel Brandon's charm in this man. He's Bruno. He loves Mary at first sight but she treats him as a tramp, poor man. He is generous, patient, resourceful and wise. An artist. He doesn't hide any tragic romantic love in his past but he conquers Mary's love and trust  in the end.


Double very happy ending guaranteed!


This blogpost is part of my third task in the Sense and Sensibility Bicentenary Challenge 2011 hosted by Laurel Ann at Austenprose. For further info about the challenge click here

My previous tasks:

1 comment:

Luthien84 said...

I like reading your review. You got me intrigued to watch it earlier so I hope this will be my next task for the S&S challenge.