Raising Victor Vargas

Rated 4.0 Being a man during in Manhattan’s Lower East Side is certainly a challenge for 16-year-old Victor one summer. He thinks being an attitude-laden Lothario is the path he should take until he meets the attractive Judy, in a coming-of-age comedy that has both dramatic bite and emotional resonance. This sort of Dominican version of Manchild in the Promised Land, where Neanderthal youths constantly jockey for and harass the opposite sex and where machismo is the strut du jour, is about the clash of the old and new worlds. Victor is a walking contradiction, a wannabe player with a moral pulse, who struggles to live peacefully with his younger brother and sister under the guardianship of their grandmother. The excellent, nonprofessional cast that improvised most of the dialogue includes Victor Rasuk, Judy Marte, Melonie Diaz, Altagracia Guzman, Silvestre Rasuk and Krystal Rodriquez. The movie was directed and co-written by Peter Sollett.