Commentary: Latinas Are Either Saints or Whores, According to New Movie

Of course, we also get to watch Ellie, herself a stereotype of the ultimate civilized, proper white woman, “teaching” Nuria that she should respect her body and not give herself away to just any man—clearly because her silly little Latina brain can’t make a decision on her own and she doesn’t “know” any better than to have sex with the first non-relative age-appropriate man she sees.

In another weird turn, the movie also deals with the racism that Alejandro faces from the priest performing the wedding (Robin Williams) and his parents-in-law-to-be by actually making fun of those characters. When the priest asks Al if he can actually speak English (seriously?!) and Missy’s parents say they’re afraid of “half-beige” grandchildren, we the audience are meant to take that as our cue to see this kind of racism as just silly. The unintended message is clear: It’s not okay for people to stereotype against Alejandro, a Colombia-born but American-raised and Harvard-educated Latino, but it’s perfectly okay to stereotype against his Latina mother and sister.

The movie’s resolution comes when we find out that Madonna isn’t actually as conservative as we were led to believe. Instead, it turns out that she was a slutty Latina in her youth, too! She confesses to Alejandro that his father was a married man. Of course! There really is only one type of Latina, after all: a ho who sleeps around in her youth and then becomes a religious nut later on.

Is this what Hollywood really thinks of us?