Ali is a bit of a bad girl. She is a checkout girl at a superstore where she shoplifts games and booze and sells them to kids. She likes to have a wild time with her girlfriends. She won't give the time of day to her mom's boyfriends. But she also cherishes her time with her mother and feels the need to look after this flighty, unstable lady. And she really cares about her boyfriend, Julio, even though she does everything she can to stop him from getting close to her. It isn't until Ali realizes that she is recreating all of her mother's mistakes that she finds a way to open her heart.
This is the first film from Spanish director Paco R. Baños, and it is confident and accomplished. The pace rarely lags, the story makes sense and our protagonist is thoroughly likeable while still being complex and prickly. All of the characters are believable and drawn with care, even the most minor ones. Ali herself is a smart, sassy character and she makes the film a pleasure to watch.
See Ali at the Rio Theatre on October 4 at 6:45 pm.