One of the most interesting films released in the year 2002 is undoubtedly Raising Victor Vargas. The film Raising Victor Vargas most definitely deserves to be considered as having come of age in the movie sector. The film depicts a young hero who is transformed by the experiences he goes through in the relationship he is involved. The theme and plot of the film revolves around relationships and love (Ebert & Berardinelli 78) . In this paper we are going to examine and explore the relationships between boys and girls in the movie Raising Victor Vargas. The paper takes a deep look into how the director handles the various relationships apparently spinning at the same time. Also the paper discusses if the stories and characters resonate outside the Latino culture in which they occur and depicts the concepts of compassion, beauty, friendship and love.
The film's Plot
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The film has a very exciting and intriguing plot. The main character is called Victor, taking from the title of the film. Victor is a young man growing up in New York's Lower East Side. He exhibits characteristics traits of been cocky and very confident in whatever he does especially how he goes about his love life. Victor comes from a humble background staying in a small apartment. The family appears to be strange in a way as the grandmother is very strict, and his sister seems to be bratty, and the younger brother by the name Nino is looking up to his brother as a role model (Raising Victor Vargas).
The film begins with a scene where Victor is found in the bedroom of a girl called Fat Donna, who many people in the neighborhood consider and refer her as overweight. This information quickly spreads across the neighborhood and all their friends get to know about it. But Victor continuously distances himself from this unfolding and completely denies any involvement with it. However this is a huge blow to his reputation and tactfully wants to restore it by focusing his attention to a beautiful girl in the neighborhood, her name his Judy (Willis 60).
Judy has this gorgeous looks and as a result she is popular and sensational in the community. Subsequently many men in the community continuously hit on her. Consequently she has developed the sense of being very careful in choosing who to be the love of her life. This is clearly shown when Victor makes an attempt of displaying advances towards her (Ebert 120). Out rightly Judy lies that she has a boyfriend, this is bad news to Victor who is determined to win her. He delves into interrogation to verify the truth of whether Judy had a boyfriend or not. Eventually he establishes that Judy was indeed single and available.
In order to crack the 'nut' of winning Judy, Victor approaches Judy's Brother called Carlos for help. Surprisingly Carlos agrees but he places on the table some conditions to be met before he could do the offer. The condition was that Victor had to introduce him to her sister called Vicki, who he had fallen in love with. Ultimately Judy said yes to advances of Victor, but there is more than what meets the eye, as her goal is to use Victor as a repulsive object toward the many men who continuously hit-on her (Ebert & Berardinelli 45).
Over the same duration of time, we also witness in the film one of Judy's friend her name is Melonie been involved in romantic relationship with her boyfriends, his name is Harold. Their behavior leads them to be involved in sexual relations by sleeping together. Melonie unearths to Harold the reason why Judy said yes to Victor advances and agreed to get into a relationship with her. There after Harold shares the story with Victor who proceeds to confront Judy.
The film gets near to the climax when Victor invites Judy over at his place for a dinner. Judy took it that he was going to impress the family and probably improve his reputation. They decides to dwell together ultimately but now the big twist is revealed, Victor says that he invited Judy to see the family so that they could know who he really is (Raising Victor Vargas).
Relationship between the Boys and Girls
According to the film, there are various relationships that are depicted, all this relationship revolve around the theme of friendship and love. Through this relationship we see transformation of character and stories grow to different twists and turns. The director uses different characters to represent various issues that boys and girls experience while in a relationship (Badal 145).
The first relationship in the film is between Victor and Fat Donna. The film begins by showing them in the bedroom of the Fat Donna. The director uses this scene to portray the issue of morality in relationships. From this act it is clear that many boys and girls in relationship struggle with maintaining purity as they relate before they get into marriage. Many a time they end up falling into the temptation of sleeping together and when this happens or they are caught, the next thing is usually separation (Ebert 90).
This is shown by the response of Victor when the word goes around the community that he was caught in the bedroom of Fat Donna. Victor denied this continuously without any hint of shame or regret. This was contributed by that happening. Generally the relationship does not last and Victor decides to set his eyes on another girl who is more beautiful (Raising Victor Vargas).
The second relationship Victor is relating with Judy. The director utilizes the unfolding of this relationship to show how the two characters were in the relationship for different reasons. Judy was in the relation hoping that Victor would be repellent to the many men who were interested in her while Victor was in the relationship to sort out his reputation status that had been threaten by the scenario of been caught in Fat Donna bedroom. Also Victor could have been in the relationship because of Judy's gorgeous looks.
The other relationship in the film was between Melanie and Harold. This couple is conspicuously involved in romantic dealings and as a result there ended up sleeping together. The director utilizes this relationship to emphasis the effects of been involved in sexually relations before marriage. After sleeping together Melonie reveals 'secret' which lead to confrontation between Victor and Judy (Raising Victor Vargas).
The film also show the relationship between Carlos and Vicki, but not much has been told about them. What we can get is that the relationship was as a result of developments of the main character's relationship. This could be used to depict the influence of peer pressure. The two could have been compelled getting into the relationship by their peers. This is comes out when Carlos places a condition to Victors request of been helped to get through to his sister Judy.
Characters and Stories in comparison with the Latino culture
The film unfolding is base on the environment of Latino culture. Most of the stories and characters resonate outside the Hispanic culture. The conservative Latino culture highly esteemed male chauvinism. Under this culture boys were supposed to be in charge of everything while the girls were expected just to watch the happening. This is not the picture in the film, as girls are involved in many things. For instance, Judy said yes to Victor's advances for her personal agenda of avoiding many men who continuously hit-on her (Raising Victor Vargas).
Also according to the Hispanic culture, boys were supposed to be very proud and protective of their girlfriends, in fact there were expected to treat them as their personal property. This is contrarily to the happening in the film. Victor denies and leaves Fat Donna because of the perception of many who considered her as overweight and after been found in her bedroom. Harold tells Victor what Melonie had revealed to him, this ends up causing confrontation (Ebert 130).
The Latino culture opposed infidelity in the strongest terms possible. However in the film there are several scenes involving or insinuating infidelity. A good example is the romantic dealings between Melonie and his boyfriend Harold. Actually this results into sexual relations between the two. Also another act is when Victor is found in bedroom with Fat Donna. This creates the image of infidelity between the two parties (Badal 45).
The theme of compassion, friendship, love and beauty
Throughout the film there are vivid evidence of compassion, friendship, love and beauty. The different stories and characters help to bring out these themes. The main story been told in this film is basically revolving around friendship. The director uses them to show the issues that surround friendships between boys and girls. The hero in this film, Victor is involved in several friendships both with boys and girls; he ends up getting into relationship Judy as a result of friendship (Ebert 125). He was helped to get through to Judy by his friend Carlos who was Judy's brother.
The issue of love is contentious in the film; it is difficult to determine who was in a relationship because of true love. Most of the characters and stories lack the essence of honest, sincere love, instead most of the characters get into friendships and relationship for their selfish ambition. Victor was in a relationship to protect his image while Judy was in the relationship to receive 'shield' against many men who were hitting-on her. Melonie and Harold seem to be in relationship so that they enjoy themselves in romantic dealings (Raising Victor Vargas). Victor denies and leaves Fat Donna after word goes around that he was caught in her bedroom. This put in doubt the true love as it would demand him standing by her in that situation instead he leaves to fix his image.
Majority of characters are drawn to each other because of beauty. Apart from working on his image, Victor is really drawn to Judy because of beauty. We are also told Carlos had 'crushed' on Vicki; this is the result of her looks. However the film tells the least about compassion, very few cases indicate compassion (Willis 56).
The director and producer of the film Raising Victor Vargas had done example work in depicting the major issues that affect boys and girls in friendship and relationship. This has been packed and delivered in a very interesting manner which is attracting to the young people. The director utilized the context of Latino culture to contrast the behavior and perception of boys and girls then and now (Ebert 98). The Latino highly advocated male chauvinism; however this no longer works in our today's context. Comprehensively the film addresses the theme of love, friendship, compassion and beauty, as boys and girls discover themselves in friendship and love. This film is must watch for anyone wanting to know more about the influence of friendship, relationship, beauty, compassion and love in the life of boys and girls.
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