Last watched February 2017
Based on the true story of nun and academic, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, this Mexican is a semi-historical biography following her life after she is introduced to the court in New Spain as a teen.
Being a bright young woman at the time when inquisitors of the Church were so powerful, was dangerous. The story of Juana Inés follows the ways in which she plays and navigates the court and the Church in order to gain access to books and the right to study.
I power-watched Juana Inés, even though, as it was subtitled, it required my full attention. It’s a really amazing story of a very head strong and intelligent woman arguing her way out of (and into) predicaments. She navigates the nuances of both the court and the Church in really particular ways, often naive as a child and often defiantly as an adult.
It’s a really beautiful articulation of the potential of women and how – particularly in those times – the notion that female empowerment and education is actually something that God wants for society (because why would he give her these gifts if he didn’t want her to use them).
Genre: historical fiction, biography, drama, Mexican drama
Pros: woman written, woman directed, woman lead production, diverse cast, queer plotline
Cons: indigenous characters and slaves are depicted but only as back drops
Would approach with caution if: you have difficulty with violence against slaves and indigenous folk, the Catholic church and its treatment of women/nuns, incarceration, abuse of power, poor depiction of older, femme queer person
Can be found: Netflix
Accessibility: subtitles and closed captions 🙂 🙂
If you liked this, I would suggest: the Bletchley Circle, Manhattan, Bomb Girls, Rita – all of these I advise not because they are extremely similar but because some are also historical-ish, queer plotlines and all of them feature kick ass women leads.