Review: 'Women Is Losers' Takes Gutsy Swings at Complicated Issues

by Noe Kamelamela

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Monday October 18, 2021

'Women Is Losers'
'Women Is Losers'  (Source:HBO Max)

Like the Janis Joplin song of the same name, "Women is Losers" takes gutsy swings at complicated issues. At the root of the film is one young Latina's liberation in the 1960s, which is complicated not just by the mores and standards of the time, but also by her own background. This is an energetic, enthusiastic film that winks at bigger budget period pieces by subverting standard genre conventions. With frequent breaking of the fourth wall, there is a consistent effort to create rapport with the viewer.

Not everything that happens to our main character is pleasant. Even in liberal San Francisco at the time, young unmarried women could not expect the same respect that is accorded to teenage women of today. Adding to that, coming from a family that was not completely destitute — but not necessarily supportive of her dreams — our heroine Celina Guerrera (Lorenza Izzo) has to endure a great deal of unfairness, without knowing any of the context behind why she keeps getting handed the short end of the stick. Throughout her coming of age, as she makes different life choices, she is forced to choose according to what she already knows she doesn't want, not necessarily according to her own true desires. Eventually, she comes into her own as a person, and begins to make decisions rooted in her own knowledge and needs.

Occasional genre switches and usage of historical or historical-appearing media clips also maintain the conceit of the time period. I wanted to know more about specific people, such as Celina's mom (Alejandra Miranda) or Celina's best friend (Chrissie Fit), in part because unlike Celina or her eventual boss, Gilbert (Simu Liu), they do not get to address their own histories facing the camera in their own words. The different styles of storytelling used for different characters did create an interesting mix that kept me entertained and constantly guessing.

"Women is Losers" becomes available only on HBO Max October 18th.

Noe Kamelamela is a reader who reads everything and a writer who writes very little.