In these tenuous political times, entertainment has two key responsibilities. It should either pull us out of the real world for and give our brains a break for a few hours, or reflect the world outside the medium in a thought-provoking way. How to Get Away With Murder star Karla Souza's new romantic comedy Everybody Loves Somebody manages to do both. The film, which is out now, is bilingual, switching repeatedly from Spanish to English and back again. It's also bicultural, as it features Clara's life as a doctor in California and her trips home to see her Mexican family across the border. It's not lost on Souza that right now is a particularly relevant time to showcase this intersection of two cultures. "It’s like a universal, human experience — being rejected and heartbroken and in love and all these things," Souza tells Bustle of the film.
Because of its universal themes, Souza, who was born in Mexico, was excited to feature an immigrant's story in a way that isn't often seen in American entertainment. "It’s OK to represent [Mexicans] in movies and TV shows as immigrants, but sometimes it’d be great to just not mention that and just show their everyday lives," she says. "The movie is a rom-com of an immigrant, but you don’t even know; it’s not even mentioned because she’s already a citizen, as millions of people are. She pays her taxes, she has her house, she lives [in America], she works [in America]."
As Everybody Loves Somebody switches between Clara's life as a doctor in America and time spent in Mexico with her very close family, viewers get to see two snapshots of culture that intermingle as she wrestles with her feelings for a coworker and her ex-boyfriend in Mexico. She is part of an average family, has a good job, goes through relatable dating struggles, and more. She just happens to sometimes travel from California to Mexico in between, and the film treats that with the normalcy it deserves.
Souza feels that it is "a breath of fresh air right now [for immigrants] to see their lives represented on the big screen in the U.S." Sure, some of the quirks of a bicultural life are represented, but it's all done with the humor of any other romantic comedy. In one scene, Clara invites the guy she's seeing to visit her in Mexico and jokes, "Don't forget your passport, otherwise you'll have to stay here forever."
In a political climate that is teeming with fear and discrimination of immigrants, it's important for media to represent the average lives of bicultural families. Clara's back-and-forth lifestyle isn't odd or shocking or treated as an insurmountable obstacle to her love life — nor should it be. As Souza says, "it’s the life of millions of immigrants that come in and out of the border."
Clara is just a woman trying to figure out how love fits into her life, and Souza hopes that the funny, feel-good romantic comedy can be "a big hug towards all the immigrants that are going through just difficult times right now."
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