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Movie Review: Raising Victor Vargas

Story: Kudos to first time feature length film makers Peter Sollett and Eva Vives who bring us an authentic, heart felt, honest movie that you ought not miss. The story evolves around 16 year old Victor Vargas during one short, hot, Lower East Side summer. Victor, who fancies himself a Romeo of sorts, meets and is smitten with Judy, a seemingly unreachable, young, neighborhood beauty. How their relationship grows is the essence of the film.

Whenever I thought the story was going to take the easy way out I was surprised. The pride and love that these characters exude is worth the price of admission. Don't miss this terrific slice of life, coming of age film. Andy Hardy it's not.

Acting: This novice cast were all terrific. Victor Rasuk, in the lead has a charm and warmth that jumps right off of the screen. Judy Marte, as the love interest, reminded me of a much younger, innocent Jennifer Lopez. All of the supporting cast were right on the money.

Predilections: None - although I do like to watch films that are shot locally.

Critters: None.

Food: Cheeseburgers, salad and Cocoa Pebbles cereal.

Visual Art: Posters of Latino stars.

Blatant Product Placement: I think I saw a bottle of Corona.

Soundtrack: Unobtrusive and fitting.

Opening Titles: Credits at the end.

Theater Audience: A handful of appreciative neighborhood fans. This film was shot a few short blocks from the theater where it was playing. I enjoyed walking the neighborhood in search of the real Victor and his friends when I left the theater.

Quirky Meter: 2

Predictability Level: I was delightfully surprised by the evolving characters.

Tissue Usage: 0 - but I did get a lump in my throat.

Oscar Worthy: No.

Nit Picking: The hand held camera was a bit jiggly for my liking and the close-ups of the actors was at times claustrophobic.

Big Screen or Rental: How about supporting these type of Indie (Sundance Institute supported) films and go for the big screen? If you want rentals how about Raising Arizona, Raising Cain and Raise the Red Lantern. They have nothing in common but the word raise.

Length: 90 entertaining minutes.