Babygirl

Directed by Macdara Vallely
  • Ireland / US
  • 77 minutes
  • 2012
Winner of the Panavision Spirit Award for Independent Cinema at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival

For as long as she can remember, Bronx teenager Lena (Yainis Ynoa) has watched her young man-crazy single mom Lucy (Rosa Arredono) waste her time on a series of less-than-perfect boyfriends. And even though she should be paying attention to the neighbourhood boys’ flirtations herself, Lena has been spending most of her time being the mother Lucy forgets to be. But when Mom’s latest boy toy Victor (Flaco Navaja) quickly proves to be her worst suitor yet, Lena sets up a trap to expose him for the creep she thinks he is.

Set in the uneasy but rhythmic streets of the Bronx, this unassuming story of a passionate Puerto Rican family comes to life with authenticity and just the right amount of restraint and naturalism. Irish-born director Macdara Vallely captures a vivid portrait of a young mother and her daughter both coming of age while crafting a likeable yet shifty character in Victor, the kind of guy who always keeps one guessing. Newcomer Yainis Ynoa gives a standout performance as the strong but clearly still innocent Lena in this finely tuned urban drama.

Genna Terranova, Tribeca Film Festival