Dominican twelve-year-old Desi has musical aspirations and performs with a local all-girls choir, but her ambitions are much bigger. Desi yearns to one day leave her beachside community of Boca Chica behind and achieve fame and recognition as a singer. She keeps this yearning a secret from her family, specifically the women in her life who have raised her. Her occasional confidante is her older brother, Fran, who lives a facade of his own in New York City as a struggling musician who sheepishly works as a food delivery worker. When news arrives that the siblings’ cousin, Elvis, is coming to Boca Chica to marry his wealthy, older, American fiancée, it opens up past tensions and latent trauma in their family. Meanwhile, a restless Desi meets a group of Dominican teens — also aspiring singers and rappers — that lights a spark in her artistic pursuit.
Anchored by an arresting lead performance by Scarlet Camilo, Gabriella A. Moses’ feature directorial debut is an eye-catching, grounded coming-of-age drama that thoughtfully depicts a determined young girl rising above toxic and traumatic circumstances in pursuit of a musically attuned, artistically fueled future. ––Jose Rodriguez