Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Las Navidades - Christmastime

As I mentioned last week, I have a love-hate relationship with the holiday season. But my two favorite things about the holidays are the music and the movies. So it didn't take much convincing to get me to go watch Nothing Like the Holidays, especially with an all-Latino cast. The movie won't be winning any awards, and at times it was a little too sad for my liking (sorry, no spoilers here, you'll have to go watch it yourself), but it was still a fun time and watching a screen full of Latino actors not playing to negative stereotypes was great.

I do have to say that some of my favorite moments were that ones that many might consider stereotypical, simply because they spoke to my experiences. When they're sitting at dinner talking loudly and seemingly on top of each other, Debra Messing's character thinks they're all fighting. People who aren't in my family always think we're fighting when we all get together -- we're THAT loud! Somehow we manage to flow in and out of the conversations happening around us with relative ease, but outsiders are quickly overwhelmed.

Another stereotype in the movie is the pressure to have children. Let me set the record straight on this. While I hear friends from other cultures complain about this, none of them have complained as much or for as long (some as early as 17) as my Latina friends. In fact, as I'm writing this, I'm picturing all of them nodding their heads sadly as they realize that their existence comes down to the question "why haven't you had any children yet?" At no point is this question off-limits and everyone in the family can ask it, no matter how distant the familial connection.

So maybe this time the stereotypes really got it right. Our loudness, the obsession with having kids, our love of food, our dysfunctional relationships... it was all there and it all made it feel a little bit like home.

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