This film tells the story of Majo, a young, aspiring hip-hop artist, played by Gina Rodriguez, who raps under the stage name Filly Brown. When the film opens she is performing regularly at a local radio station where she delivers her rhymes on socio-economic and feminist issues. At first glance, she is a passionate performance poet within the male-dominated Latino hip-hop community.
Majo visits her imprisoned mother Maria (Jenni Rivera), where she learns that police corruption may have tainted her mother’s case. This revelation causes her to do everything in her power to help her mother win a new trial along with the assistance of her mother’s lawyer Leandro (Edward James Olmos). Meanwhile, Majo’s talents attract the attention of increasingly legitimized music managers, but as her chances for success rise, her music becomes more and more over-produced and her look more sexualized.
It turns out though that Majo may have been too willing to sell out all along. She jumps to rash decisions that backfire in her professional and personal life. Her father Jose (Lou Diamond Phillips) gives his daughter sage advice that she doesn’t want to hear. Phillips gives an amazing performance as her father, and he is one of the only characters who is able to make an impact with subtlety. The hard truth this film drives home is the fact that, sometimes, we can’t trust the people we love most, but also that there is always room for redemption.
At the end of the day, though, Filly Brown is the kind of film that pulls on its audience’s heartstrings by utilizing every trick in the book. The storyline gets a bit lost in dramatic moment after dramatic moment, which results in melodrama instead of genuine emotional moments (with the exception of the role of Jose). The film also borrows from many other movies that focus on an aspiring singer/rapper. That being said, Filly Brown does entertain and it does have something to offer. If the premise sounds appealing, then it is worth a watch. Also, Gina Rodriguez is an actress to look out for.
She acts and performs her heart out in this film, delivering on every song.
The Indomina Group has acquired Worldwide distribution rights to this film.