“La Bamba” Film Review


Ritchie and Donna

Film Review: “La Bamba”

In the film, “La Bamba”, a teenage boy whose name is Richard Steven Valenzuela, becomes a Rock ‘N’ Roll superstar. He becomes known and a record producer wants to record his music but makes him change his stage name to Ritchie Valens. To me this meant since Richard was a Mexican American boy he would not get recognized by others due to his ethnicity and race. He had to change his identity to be accepted within the Rock ‘N” Roll business. This connects to our class readings when we talk about racism and how racism is still comes into play within our society.

In the beginning of the film, Ritchie and his family are living in a ranch like place, with nowhere to sleep due to his father passing. His mother was a single mom trying to put her kids through in life and this made me realize how this connects to the Chicano/a family and how it was a struggle to be a single mother living in poverty. We also see Machismo in this film, with Ritchie’s half-brother, Bob. Bob’s character is a drunken head strong person with a whole lot of pride. We first see Bob come to the rancho his family was living, to take them out of the poverty they were living in. Bob’s character reminding me of Machismo because of the way he was with his girlfriend, Rosie. Rosie is a girl from that same rancho. He made love to her and also took her out to live with him and his family. Rosie ends up pregnant with his baby. When she lets Bob know about her pregnancy, he tells her “well it aint the first or the last”, this devalued her as a woman and a mother. Bob also devalues her when he goes out drinking and cheating with other women. There was a scene where Bob was made look superior than Rosie, when Rosie does not want to be around him and he forces her to sleep with him. Bob basically rapes Rosie, in order to please himself. This connects to Machismo because he was very aggressive with her and of course stronger than she is.

Throughout the film, Machismo comes into play as does racism. Racism comes into play when Ritchie meets a White girl in high school named Donna. Ritchie is head over heels for Donna and Donna seems to like him as well. Ritchie ends up walking her home from school; Donna’s father sees Ritchie and notices he is not White. Donna’s father asks Donna “Who is that?” she answers, “Just a boy from school”. After some time, Donna’s fathers notices him always walking her home from school, and buys Donna a car so she would not walk home with Ritchie. Ritchie notices that and tells Donna why her father bought her the car, she answers, “He does not want me to walk home from school anymore” Ritchie replies, “He doesn’t want you walking home anymore or he doesn’t want you to walk with me anymore?” she stays silent. Overtime, Donna starts ignoring Ritchie because her father does not want her to be with Ritchie. Donna is not allowed to be with him due to his race and ethnicity.