Review: In Sobering & Heartfelt 'Babygirl', a Teen's Plan to Expose Mom's Boyfriend Backfires (on VOD & iTunes)
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Reviews

Review: In Sobering & Heartfelt 'Babygirl', a Teen's Plan to Expose Mom's Boyfriend Backfires (on VOD & iTunes)


nullIn Macdara Vallely’s gritty coming-of-age urban drama "Babygirl," a nuyorican teen named Lena, portrayed by breakthrough actress Yainis Ynoa (Starz’s "Power"), has taken more of a parental role to her own self-centered single mother Lucy (Rosa Arredondo), whose past includes a series of failed relationships with untrustworthy men.

Single mother Lucy has been placing the burden of caring for

her infant on her angst-ridden teenage daughter Lena, who also works as a

cashier at a local supermarket in the Bronx. Aside from dealing with the

responsibility of caring for her baby sister, Lena’s burgeoning sexuality has triggered

a self-defense mechanism when it comes to a local boy’s interest in her, a

consequence of witnessing her own mother’s mishaps with men. Lena is moody and

conflicted about the world that surrounds her immediate circle: an

attention-seeking best friend and her own mother; yet Lena has forged a strong

bond with the latter, who, despite being a borderline negligent parent, is also

affectionate and loving to Lena.

Conflict arises when Lucy, while aboard a city bus with Lena,

meets a handsome stranger named Victor, who winks at her daughter Lena prior to

striking a conversation with her, a forewarning of what’s to come.  The seedy Victor character, played

convincingly with eerie authenticity by Flaco

Navaja ("East WillyB" web series), has set his eyes on Lena while romancing

the unmindful mother, who devotes her all to the new 26-year old boyfriend.

Lena becomes determined to expose her mother’s boyfriend’s

conniving ways. However, the plan backfires in a cleverly orchestrated sequence

of events in which Lena agrees to go on one date with Victor if he disappears

from her mother’s life. Soon after, Lena finds herself conflicted about her own

attraction to Victor, making way to a series of unnervingly realistic scenes

that illustrate a rather disturbing love-triangle. 

Actress Yainis Ynoa totally owns her very first acting role

as Lena by conveying a gamut of emotions. Rosa Arredondo, known mostly for TV

roles that include "The Good Wife" and "Person of Interest," is superb in the role

of a mother who is desperate to win a younger man’s affection. The last confrontation

scenes between the actresses are the most powerful and sobering of the film.

At the center of this heartfelt story is the mother and

daughter relationship. Director Vallely has carefully crafted multi-dimensional

characters that are life-like and complex. When the mother is giving a

sentimental toast on her daughter’s 16th birthday celebration at an

outdoor picnic, the endearing connection is palpable, although such mostly

resembles a close-nit friendship rather than a mother-daughter relationship.

The nuance of these characterizations, along with the great

dialogue and director Vallely’s strong script, makes "Babygirl" a touching, compelling and recommended film to watch.

"Babygirl" is now available on iTunes and VOD:

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