Girl in Progress, as the title suggests, is a movie that depicts the transition of a teenage girl to an adult, which is also known as 'The Coming Of Age'. Our teenage daughter, Ansiedad (Cierra Ramirez) comes from a broken family and she longs to break away from her estranged mother, who does not care for her at all. Ansiedad believes that she would become an adult after completing a list of tasks, like 'losing first kiss and virginity'.
As confused as the troubled teenager sounds, the story needs more clarification and a better closure in wrapping up the movie. Sharper dialogues and cleaner edits would perhaps turn this movie into a funnier, moving story we want to watch. There are so many characters to focus on, and the diversion of individual's story is not well established. In my opinion, I feel that there are many scenes that could be dropped, and sub-character plots to be taken out.
You have, of course, the mother, Grace (Eva Mendes), the brainy daughter Ansiedad, the married lover of Grace, Dr Hartford (Matthew Modine) and Ansiedad's best friend, Tavita (Raini Rodriguez). These are just the few main leads in the show, don't get me started on the supporting stories that came with it. As a viewer, I don't want, and don't need to know so many back-stories to explain the motivation behind the lead characters.
When a story focuses heavily on a character, it is of utmost important that the the actor is able to draw the attention of the audience or risk boring them through the movie. In Girl In Progress, I am pretty impressed with young actress Cierra Ramirez who has performed well as the neglected teenage girl. I feel that she has played both characters of 'the good girl' and the 'ah lian' sidekick well enough for audience to believe in her anxiety to speed up the transitional coming-of-age period. One particularly memorable scene is the way she pleads for a first kiss just so that she could mark a tick on her checklist.
This is, perhaps, a movie for parents to learn to understand their children better, and not be like the mom in the movie who neglects her kid and not being there for her. I wouldn't strongly recommend Girl In Progress as I doubt a 100-minutes film would be able change one's method in raising a child. However, this may simply reminds us to show ample concern for our young ones in the their growing stages.