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Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It

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Over a 70+ year career, Rita Moreno defied both her humble upbringing and relentless racism to become a celebrated and beloved actor, one of the rare EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) Award Winners of our time. Born into poverty on a Puerto Rican farm, Moreno and her seamstress mother immigrated to New York City when Moreno was five years old. After studying dance and performing on Broadway, Moreno was cast as any ethnic minority the Hollywood studios needed filled, be it Polynesian, Native American or Egyptian. Despite becoming the first Latina actress to win an Academy Award for her role as Anita in “West Side Story” (1961), the studios continued to offer Moreno lesser roles as stereotypical ethnic minorities, ignoring her proven talent.

RITA MORENO: JUST A GIRL WHO DECIDED TO GO FOR IT illuminates the humor and the grace of Moreno, as well as lesser-known struggles faced on her path to stardom, including pernicious Hollywood sexism and abuse, a toxic relationship with Marlon Brando, and serious depression a year before she emerged an Oscar winner. Moreno’s talent and resilience triumphed over adversity, as she broke barriers, fought for representation and forged the path for new generations of artists.


  • Rita Moreno
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda
  • Norman Lear
  • George Chakiris
  • Morgan Freeman
  • Eva Longoria
  • Mitzi Gaynor
  • Whoopi Goldberg
  • Gloria Estefan
  • Terrence McNally

Atom User Reviews

Verified Review

Inspiring life story, but includes promotion of abortion, which I do not agree with.

Jed M


Jun 16, 2021

The film might be conventionally structured, but the singular ebullience and warmth of its resilient subject make it highly entertaining.

Metacritic review by David Rooney
David Rooney
The Hollywood Reporter
Jun 16, 2021

Mariem Perez Riera’s celebratory documentary covers the full sweep of Moreno’s seven decades long career but also addresses her significance as a trailblazing Latina woman and political activist.

Allan Hunter
Screen Daily
Jun 16, 2021

I think what sets Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It apart from other end-of-life docs is that this one is just so honest, so forthcoming, and so remarkably detailed. Mariem Pérez Riera has perfectly captured an American icon at the moment we need her the most.

Metacritic review by Norman Gidney
Norman Gidney
Film Threat