I Like It Like That (film)

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I Like It Like That
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Darnell Martin
Produced by Ann Carli
Victor De Jesus
Wendy Finerman
Lane Janger
Stephen Lloyd
Diana Phillips
Tracy Leigh Vilar
Written by Darnell Martin
Starring Lauren Velez
Jon Seda
Griffin Dunne
Jesse Borrego
Rita Moreno
Lisa Vidal
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date
  • October 14, 1994 (1994-10-14)
Running time
104 minutes
Country United States
Language English

I Like It Like That is a 1994 comedy-drama film about the trials and tribulations of a young Puerto Rican couple living in the poverty-stricken New York City neighborhood of the South Bronx. The film stars Lauren Velez, Jon Seda, Lisa Vidal, Griffin Dunne, Jesse Borrego and Rita Moreno, and was written and directed by Darnell Martin who, in her filmmaking debut, became the first African-American female filmmaker to take helm of a film produced by a major film studio.

The film was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival.[1]


Lisette Linares (Velez) is a young mother of three children, married to Chino (Seda), a bicycle messenger. Although he is always reliable as the breadwinner of the family, Chino is having an affair with the neighborhood tramp, Magdalena (Vidal). One summer evening, a blackout sweeps the neighborhood, and Chino finds himself in jail after being arrested for looting.

Faced now with the reality of keeping her family together with the main breadwinner in jail, Lisette, with the encouragement of her transgender sister Alexis (Borrego), decides to give her dream of becoming a print model a chance. As she happens to be in the right place at the right time, Lisette lands a job as the personal assistant to a major record label producer (Dunne), who is trying to sign a major Latin music group (played by the real life group the Barrio Boyzz).



A prominent theme in the film is transmisogyny. Lisette’s sister Alexis (Borrego) is an important figure in constructing womanhood in the film, as Lisette reifies her womanhood through downplaying her sister's womanhood as somehow less authentic than hers. Other themes include anti-Black attitudes within the Latina/o community, a woman’s often conflicting yearning for both independence and heterosexual love, and the construction of masculinity through sexuality.


  1. ^ "Festival de Cannes: I Like It Like That". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-08-30. 

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