NUNN'S THEATER HABIT
Rita Moreno goes for it in new documentary
Wed. June 16, 2021 12:00 AM
by Jerry Nunn
Rosa Dolores Alverio Marcano, also known as Rita Moreno, is a Puerto Rican actress, singer and dancer who has had a massive 70 year career under her belt that continues to grow. She is finally getting the documentary that she deserves when Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It debuts on June 18, 2021.
This time the story is told under her terms, and in many ways she comes out of the closet, about the treatment she was given in the entertainment world. We are given a private show of her 87th birthday party and nothing seems to be off limits in her personal life, from contemplating suicide to abortion.
Recently, there have been many celebrity stories told in the documentary format such as Audrey Hepburn and, Moreno's co-star in West Side Story, Natalie Wood. Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It is told with Moreno's voice where she can still give permission to roll the clips.
With some of the band members now deceased, The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart and the upcoming Beatles: Get Back are both documentaries that might leave audiences wondering what the rest of the group would have to say and the past. This one woman show has an advantage in that department and should not be missed.
There are brief appearances by some of the producers Lin-Manual Miranda and Norman Lear, but the doc wisely chooses a female as a director with Mariem Perez Riera. There are many intense moments where Moreno talks about her unfair experiences in the industry and the horrible rape of a previous manager, among other difficult moments in her life.
If you have ever been around Moreno, you will notice her quick sense of humor and positive attitude. After watching this movie, some of that positivity is most likely part of the act. She copes with some of the trauma in the only way she can, as a bright shining star that is lucky to have survived some abusive relationships and carries on with her head held high every day.
This candid portrayal has both new and old interviews as the narrative displaying her razor sharp wit and banter with others. One time when I was talking about her new album to her, I didn't know that her longtime friend Emilio Estefan had produced the record and she told me to do my homework. She was right of course, but it would take me weeks to study up on her legendary career. It was a chance to thank her for making me laugh as a child at her characters on The Electric Company and for that time I am forever grateful. I was told how she appreciated the interviews over the years, which meant a lot to me. She's a true professional in every way and even sang to me in Spanish on the phone once!
She has deserved all the trophies she has taken home over the years, an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony, along with the Presendential Medal of Freedom and the Peabody Career Acheivement Award, most recently. She has lived the American dream after immigrating from a small Puerto Rican town and her journey has not been an easy one in show business as shown in this movie.
The Girl Who Decided to Go for It is a reference from a t-shirt she wore that made a statement and with this onscreen diary, Moreno has a legacy that will live on forever. Whether you grew up with her or are just now discovering her amazing talent, this is a girl everyone should know and celebrate.