Raising Victor Vargas
|Raising Victor Vargas|
|Directed by||Peter Sollett|
|Produced by||Peter Sollett
Alain de la Mata
|Written by||Peter Sollett
|Music by||Brad Jones
|Edited by||Myron I. Kerstein|
|Distributed by||Samuel Goldwyn Films
Raising Victor Vargas is a 2002 film directed by Peter Sollett, written by Sollett and Eva Vives. The film follows Victor, a Lower East Side teenager, as he deals with his eccentric family, including his strict grandmother, his bratty sister, and a younger brother who completely idolizes him. Along the way he tries to win the affections of Judy, who is very careful and calculating when it comes to how she deals with men. In a subplot, we also see Judy's friend Melonie in her own romantic adventure. The film was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival.
Victor is a teenager growing up in the Lower East Side of New York. He is a cocky young man, very sure of himself in his love life. He lives in a small apartment with his strict grandmother, bratty sister Vicki, and his younger brother Nino, who is just coming into his own sexuality and looks up to his girl-crazy brother highly.
At the beginning of the film, Victor is found in the bedroom of Fat Donna, a girl that many in the neighborhood consider overweight. Word quickly spreads throughout the community amongst his friends, although Victor continuously denies it happened. As this is a huge threat to his reputation, he sets his sights on the beautiful girl of the neighborhood, Judy.
Judy is a good-looking young woman who is continuously hit-on by men in her neighborhood, which makes her very careful in who she chooses in terms of her love life. When Victor comes on to her, she lies, telling him she has a boyfriend. When Victor finds out this isn't true, he enlists the help of Judy's little brother Carlos, on the condition that Victor introduce him to Vicki, whom he has a crush on. Judy ultimately says yes to Victor's advances, believing he will serve as a repellent toward the many men that hit on her.
During this time, Carlos has a crush on Vicki. We also see Judy's friend Melonie and her romantic dealings with Harold, Victor's friend. Their romance ultimately results in their sleeping together, and Melonie reveals to Harold the real reasons why Judy agreed to go out with Victor. Harold tells Victor, who goes to confront Judy. When Victor invites her over to dinner at his house, she believes he's doing so to impress his family and better his reputation. Ultimately, they decide to stay together, with Victor saying that he invited her to see his family to see who he really is.
Raising Victor Vargas has been a widely critical success. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 96% rating based on 103 reviews, with an average rating of 8/10. The site's consensus reads, "A coming-of-age tale marked by its authenticity." On Metacritic, the film holds a score of 83%, based on 31 critics, indicating "universal acclaim". On IMDb.com, the film received a rating of 7.2/10.
Roger Ebert praised the film for its actors and the relationship between the film's main characters, writing that the film "tells the heartwarming story of first love that finds a balance between lust and idealism. Acted by fresh-faced newcomers who never step wrong, it sidesteps the cliches of teenage coming-of-age movies and expands into truth and human comedy. It's the kind of movie you know you can trust, and you give yourself over to affection for these characters who are so lovingly observed."
- Filmed in Super 16 mm.
- Filmed on location with non-professional actors in all of the roles.
- The film's working title was "Long Way Home".
- This feature film evolved from Peter Sollett's 2000 short film entitled Five Feet High and Rising, which featured many of the same cast members as Raising Victor Vargas.
- "Festival de Cannes: Raising Victor Vargas". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-10-31.
- "Raising Victor Vargas (2003)". rottentomatoes.com. March 28, 2003. Retrieved October 5, 2015.
- "Raising Victor Vargas". rottentomatoes.com. March 28, 2003. Retrieved October 5, 2015.
- "Raising Victor Vargas (2002)". rottentomatoes.com. May 2, 2003. Retrieved October 5, 2015.
- "Raising Victor Vargas Movie". rottentomatoes.com. April 18, 2003. Retrieved October 5, 2015.