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Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It: A Solid Documentary That Highlights the Trailblazing Career of Rita Moreno

June 15, 2021

Quick Thoughts: – A- Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It is an excellent documentary that highlights the trailblazing career of Rita Moreno. Watch for the history, and stay for Moreno’s candid interviews.

Directed, produced, and edited by Mariem Pérez Riera, Rita Moreno is a candid, enlightening and educational documentary that breaks down the 71-year career of EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) winner Rita Moreno. The documentary features Lin-Manuel Miranda, Eva Longoria, Morgan Freeman, Justina Machado, and Moreno herself, discussing the ups-and-downs of her career, and enlightening us on how hard it was for her to make a name for herself in 1950s Hollywood. Moreno’s career started in 1950, when she was 19, and she worked on movies and television shows like Singin’ in the Rain, The King and I, The Yellow Tomahawk, and Zorro, where she mostly played some form of “native” character who was fodder for the “hero” of the film. During this time, Moreno was raped by her manager, harassed by studio heads, and she found herself in a toxic relationship with Marlon Brando that led to a suicide attempt. 

Moreno is refreshingly candid during her interviews, and hearing her talk about the rough road she endured in her career is really important. She shines a light on the sexist and racist nature of Hollywood, and somehow manages to imbue everything with sarcasm and humor. Her presence, and candid nature elevate the documentary beyond a “Rita Moreno is amazing” experience, and she makes it something worth watching for the history and knowledge. It’s wild to know that after she won her Oscar for West Side Story, she didn’t receive any job offers of substance (they still wanted her to be the “native” girl). What’s really neat is she found her own way and fought for a wildly successful career that has made her an icon. Also, her role as an activist has been a source of inspiration, and it’s cool watching her find her voice and become a role model to many young actors and actresses, who looked up to her for her talents and bravery.

An added bonus is that the documentary is only 90 minutes, and it somehow manages to pack in a lot of history, humor and heart. It never comes close to wearing out its welcome, and you almost wish you could get more of Moreno’s insights and history, because she’s so cool. 

Final thoughts: Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It is refreshingly candid and worth a watch. You will learn a lot.

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