Girl in Progress

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Girl in Progress
Girl in Progress.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Patricia Riggen
Written by Hiram Martinez
Starring Eva Mendes
Matthew Modine
Cierra Ramirez
Patricia Arquette
Eugenio Derbez
Distributed by Rogue Pictures
Release dates
  • May 11, 2012 (2012-05-11)
Running time 93 Minutes
Country United States
Language English and some spanish
Budget $5,000,000[1]
Box office $3,125,320[2]

Girl in Progress is a 2012 American drama film directed by Patricia Riggen. The film received a limited release on May 11, 2012. Originally, the film was scheduled for release on April 27, 2012, but was postponed until May 11, 2012 to avoid competition with The Pirates! Band of Misfits.[3] The film received the Favorite Movie Award at the 2012 ALMA Awards, which honors the accomplishments made by Hispanics in film, television, and music. Cierra Ramirez won the Favorite Movie Actress Supporting Role Award.[4]


Grace (Eva Mendes) is a single mom raising her fourteen-year-old daughter, Ansiedad (Cierra Ramirez), alone. Grace is too busy juggling work, bills, and her relationship with the very married Dr. Hartford (Matthew Modine) to give Ansiedad the attention she desperately needs. It is shown that Ansiedad takes care of herself as well as her mother most of the time.

When Ansiedad's English teacher (Patricia Arquette) inspires Ansiedad with coming-of-age lessons, Ansiedad decides it's time to rebel and grow up quickly so she will finally be mature enough to move out. She creates a list of tasks she must complete to reach her big goal: run away to New York.

Her first task is to remind everyone that she is a good girl - she signs up for her school's chess team and wins a match, and goes to a nursing home and regularly visits an old woman who Anisedad names 'Maud'.

Next, Ansiedad befriends the most popular and hard-to-get girl in school, Valerie (Brenna O'Brien). After much humiliation and bribery, Ansiedad successfully completes this task, but is forced to act terrible toward her best friend, Tavita (Raini Rodriguez) to make this happen, calling her fat and useless. Tavita begins to cry from Ansiedad's harsh comments about her weight and runs off to her boyfriend, Ferguson (Rady Panov).

At school, Ansiedad witnesses Ferguson breaking up with Tavita harshly. He tells her that despite what they do in his basement they aren't ever going to be together, and Ansiedad hears him and tells Ferguson to leave Tavita alone. Ferguson storms away angrily after yelling "Why do you care!?", and Tavita tells Ansiedad angrily but while crying that she was never there for her, and that she hates Ansiedad. Ansiedad is very upset, but moves onto her next task: have her first kiss, preferably with the boyish popular so-called womanizer Trevor (Landon Liboiron).

To target Trevor, she hides out in his car, surprising him and he gets in. She asks if he'll be at the party that night, to which he answers yes. She then asks him (knocking off her next task) to take her virginity there. He agrees, and they kiss awkwardly, after Ansiedad asks him to. Ansiedad checks off having her first kiss off her list, wiping the smile off Trevor's face, who thought that she might have liked him, but he still agrees to have sex with her at the party later.

At the party that night, Valerie ditches Ansiedad and Ansiedad spots Trevor. Wordlessly, Trevor takes her to an upstairs bedroom, much to Valerie's anger. After locking the door, they kiss, and Trevor tells Ansiedad that he thinks she's pretty, but Ansiedad tells him off for being nice to her. Trevor then tells Ansiedad that he only acts as a womanizer to bug his dad, but Ansiedad tells him she doesn't care and asks Trevor to go in the bathroom and put on a condom while she gets ready. He enters the bathroom and reluctantly unwraps the condom, accidentally flinging it onto a lightbulb and burning a hole in it. Meanwhile, Ansiedad strips to her thong and bra and slips into the bed. She slips out of the thong under the blankets and starts to dispose of her bra when she stops and realizes how scared she is. As Trevor walks out, naked behind the door, Ansiedad changes her mind and puts her clothing back on. Trevor asks where she's going as she bundles up her jacket and tights and runs out, clearly disheveled. Trevor wraps a sheet around his waist and runs after her. As Ansiedad descends the stairs, Valerie stops her and calls her a slut, asking her how many guys she'd had sex with at such a young age. The party guests begin dumping their drinks on her and asking her about her and Trevor's sex as she tries to convince them that they didn't have sex. But nobody believes her as she is dressed seductively, Trevor is naked under the sheet, and Trevor yells out that they did have sex. Ansiedad runs home, crying out for her mother and yelling how stupid she was as she cries. She finds her mother is not home, as she fell asleep at her co-worker's (who is in love with Grace) after getting drunk with him. Ansiedad trashes the house in anger and cries until the next morning.

The next morning, Grace awakens at her co-worker Misión Impossible (Eugenio Derbez)'s, with him gone. She hurries to the crab shack where she works and finds that someone has robbed all of the family-owned business's money, which means they will be closing down.

Grace finds Misión Impossible in the back of the restaurant and demands if he stole the money. He pleads with her, saying he did it so Grace could pay Ansiedad's tuition. Grace yells at him and tells him what an idiot he is, and he then promises to return the money to the restaurant owner.

Ansiedad, heartbroken, boards a bus to New York, only to be stopped by her mother, who was told about Ansiedad's actions by the English teacher. Grace tells Ansiedad that Tavita had gone missing as well, and how sorry she is. Ansiedad and Grace fight but Grace stops Ansiedad by saying "I don't want what happened to your friend to happen to you." Ansiedad asks what happened, and Grace says that Tavita took weight pills and almost died. Ansiedad and Grace hug each other and wait at Tavita's house, where Tavita's mother indirectly tells them that Tavita is very ill but that she will be better soon.

The English teacher gives the class and Ansiedad one last assignment for the year; to write a conclusion about coming of age stories. As this assignment is heard, Misión Impossible returns the money, Ansiedad starts to dress and act like the fourteen year old she is again, and Grace goes to watch Ansiedad play chess and cheers her on, much to Ansiedad's embarrassment - but she smiles back and the audience knows she is happy that Grace is noticing her. Ansiedad makes Tavita, who has recovered, a cut-out of the two of them and apologises. Tavita hugs her and asks her if she wants to hang out, but Ansiedad tells her that "My mom is waiting for me.", and smiles. Grace and Ansiedad get on the bus together, and the story has ended.



Girl in Progress received negative reviews from critics. It currently holds a 28% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 40 reviews with the consensus stating: "Despite a well-intentioned and novel premise, Girl in Progress is plagued by jarring tonal shifts and does little to break its characters out of cliches."


Year Award Category Nominee Result
2012 Imagen Foundation Awards Best Supporting Actress/Feature Film Cierra Ramirez Won
ALMA Awards Favorite Movie Won
Favorite Movie Actress-Supporting Role Cierra Ramirez Won
2013 Premios Juventud Favorite Flick Won


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Girl in Progress (2012)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-05-15. 
  3. ^ Girl in Progress: Sweet and a Tad Spicy, Latin Heat Entertainment, Retrieved 2012-09-26.
  4. ^ Pastorizo, Dennis (September 17, 2012). "Alma Awards 2012 winners list-see here!". Terra Networks. Retrieved September 19, 2012. 

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