Gabriela Image


By Alan Ng | April 15, 2024

In Gabriela, writer/director/star Evelyn Lorena asks the question of what it means to be free…

Gabriela is a Guatemalan high school graduate looking down the road to the next stage in her life. Her dream is to join the local country club swim team, and it was then that she discovered that she doesn’t exist on paper.

Gabriela finds that she’s at a crossroads in life…more than just where she and her mother, Alma (Marla Telon), will go next, but at a crossroads of identity.

“…she discovered that she doesn’t exist on paper.”

The theme surrounding Gabriela is freedom and what that means to an undocumented teen. Though the easy direction would be to discuss the legal definition of freedom, filmmaker Lorena wrestles with the personal definition of freedom and self-acceptance instead. What does freedom mean as a singular person roaming the earth?

Gabriela is an incredibly thoughtful film. This is Evelyn Lorena’s story, and she admirably takes full command of the emotional story in front of and behind the camera. Rather than let Gabriela become a political statement, Lorena makes it a personal statement…not just for herself, but personal for her audiences as well. We all feel seen in Gabriela.

Gabriela (2024)

Directed and Written: Evelyn Lorena

Starring: Evelyn Lorena, Maria Telon, Viktor White, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

Gabriela Image

"…makes it a personal statement...not just for herself, but personal for her audiences as well."

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