Must-See Latino Short Films: Amigas with Benefits on PBS
Love is love is love is love is love, and a new short film now playing via PBS online reminds us that it’s never too late to embrace that. Amigas with Benefits is, at its core, a tender, if unexpected, coming out story. After a lifetime spent in living in the closet, Lupita is not only coming to terms with who she is, but making the choice to spend her remaining years with her true love, Ramona. All is set for her simple, yet joyous, marriage ceremony at her retirement home, when her daughter bursts in, interrupting the ceremony and insisting it come to a stop. Heartbroken and conflicted, Lupita must make a choice about her future and what happiness looks like.
The short film is part of this year’s PBS Online Film festival, which again features a number of stunning digital films from talented filmmakers. This year’s films are a showcase of diverse perspectives and stories, some, like Amigas with Benefits center around Latino lives, Watch them all and vote for your favorites.
Without a doubt, Amigas with Benefits was my favorite for many reasons. Not only was the love story between Lupita and Ramona compelling and a little heartbreaking, but I was drawn to other characters as well.
While our beliefs and ideologies are miles apart, I was surprised to find myself identifying with the character of the adult daughter. I could see she loved her mother, but was consumed with anxiety about what she perceives is an unexpected and worrisome change. (Now, this doesn’t excuse her bigoted perspective and her over-the-top dramatic delivery, mind you.)
When parents age, we worry. We worry about their health, their finances, their ability to live independently and of being taken advantage of. We look for behavioral red flags and sudden differences. We worry about so much in our efforts to care for them, but the film left me wondering whether we have a right to worry or challenge our parents when they decide to make changes and find some happiness, even when we don’t agree.
At what point do we, as adult children, begin to mistrust the instincts of our elders? What stops us from embracing our elders’ full identities independent of us? While not at the heart of her movie, these are two questions that director Adelina Anthony explores in her short film.
At the end of the movie, we are reminded that our elders are so full of wisdom. We should trust that they know themselves better than we ever will, and that they are just as deserving of love.