There’s nothing quite like watching a movie, seeing yourself in it, and only experiencing stereotypes. And in our Latine communities, we have plenty of them. We have the sexy woman with red lips, the gangster, or the maid. And honestly, they’re boring, outdated, and something Gloria Estefan is glad HBO Max’s Father of the Bride avoided at all costs.
Remezcla got a chance to interview Estefan about the film and right off the bat, she wanted to make it clear that everyone involved, from director to writer, wanted to steer clear of stereotypes. “It was done purposely. And he [director Gaz Alazraki] was very careful to what we were wearing, what the culture is, and that they’re a loving and educated family.”
She also wanted to emphasize the importance of telling a story that felt honest about who we are as a community, no matter if you’re first-generation or third. Because if there’s one thing we can all relate to, it’s “the pressure to continue to succeed.” And just like the character Billy (Andy Garcia), who plays the husband to Estefan’s Ingrid, he has this “fear that the rug will be pulled out from under” him at any moment, causing a rift in their marriage.
For Estefan, the conflict between the husband and wife feels real. And after being in therapy for a year, her character has had enough and is ready to stand on her own. But things take another turn when their daughter returns home, newly engaged, and they have to pretend that everything’s ok, setting them on an unexpected path and proving how strong Ingrid truly is in a family of such strong-willed women.
This sentiment is reflected in Estefan’s upbringing.
“I came from two incredibly powerfully strong women that had to be strong because the men in my family couldn’t. Especially my dad was ill and my grandfather was. They had to take over and take care of me and my sister.” So for Estefan, seeing Ingrid make the choices that she does in Father of the Bride is grounded in a reality she has always experienced and a take on Latine women she’s carried with her to this day.
Ultimately, Father of the Bride isn’t just a remake or adaptation of the movies that came before it. It’s its own story “dedicated to our culture and told in a way that is…it’s still a human story.” That right there makes it easier for anyone, no matter if you’re Latine or not to understand this film, where we come from, the traditions that keep us together, and the kind of people that we are at the heart of it all.
“You don’t have to be Latino to watch [Father of the Bride] or to understand it or enjoy it,” Estefan said. Because every second of this movie “reflects who we are” and it’s an opportunity to avoid stereotypes but remain true to our culture and identity.
Father of the Bride, which stars Gloria Estefan, is now available on HBO Max.