Rita Moreno has been breaking the glass ceiling in Hollywood since she arrived in 1950. Now, audiences are going to see and hear about everything in her new documentary “Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For it.”
Moreno is known to most audiences for being just one of four Latinos to ever win an Academy Award and, at last count, the only Latina to win Best Actress. But Moreno is far more than just the role of Anita in “West Side Story.” As the documentary lays out, she suffered sexual harassment and abuse, as well as racism in the industry.
The film will also chart Moreno’s life in Puerto Rico, as well as her relationships and transition into becoming a celebrated television star and EGOT winner.
Alongside that, her relationship with actor Marlon Brando brought her all manner of emotional traumas it took years for her to overcome. Through it all, Moreno remained true to herself and her Puerto Rican roots, continuing to act and make strides, most recently in the series “One Day At a Time.”
The documentary premiered at Sundance back in January. IndieWire’s Jude Dry said in their “A-” review, “One of the most striking revelations in ‘Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It’ is the film’s gentle insistence that we imagine what Moreno could have achieved were it not for the many roadblocks put in her way. Director Mariem Pérez Riera wisely resists the urge to romanticize Moreno’s struggles and thus flatten her life story into an unequivocal triumph, though she certainly came out on top.
Moreno will make an appearance this year at the TCM Classic Film Festival virtual event to honor the 60th anniversary of “West Side Story” and the documentary will have a theatrical release just as theaters across the country start to reopen. It will then debut on PBS as part of their “American Masters” series in the fall.
If you’re inspired to celebrate Moreno’s work after watching the documentary, shameless plug to read her equally compelling autobiography.
“Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It” hits theaters June 18.