|Cast||Victor Rasuk Carlos Santiago Judy Marte Daniela Rivera Mari de Jesus Donna Maldonado Michelle Vega Aaron Gonzalez Darrell Williams Hector Vazquez Erica Moncayo Francesca Santiago Shaolin Santiago Chris Rodriguez Frank Malloy IV|
|Awards||2000 Cannes Film Festival|
|Plot||... see Five Feet High and Rising on IMDb|
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|Riding high on a wave of unanimous critical acclaim, Raising Victor Vargas emerged as one of the best independent films of 2003. It fits neatly into that most familiar of categories--the coming-of-age comedy--but transcends that label to become something altogether fresh and endearing, beginning with the awkward swagger of its title character, played by Victor Rasuk. He's a Dominican kid raised amidst the poverty of New York's Lower East Side, and his hormones--like those of any 16-year-old--are ablaze with unbridled lust. Under the vigilant eye of his grandmother (who's hilariously convinced the good-boy Victor is doomed to a life of sin), Victor manages to woo the defiant girl of his dreams (Judy Marte--like the rest of this fine cast, a non-professional actor), and director Peter Sollett (expanding his earlier short Five Feet High and Rising) guides them to a delicate place of genuine affection and mutual understanding. It's a summertime fantasy, of sorts, but so simple and sincere that it achieves a state of idealized realism. First love never looked better. --Jeff Shannon|
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