“Nona” is a film about a young Honduran woman who travels to the United States in hopes to reunite with her mom who is in the United States but, finds herself a victim of sex trafficking.
The film tackles the issue of sex trafficking, human trafficking, and illegal immigration. The film is mostly in Spanish so if Spanish is not your first language subtitles are needed and provided.
The very first scene is a view of a scared looking woman being asked “What’s your name?” and “Where are you from?” The young woman answer, “San Pedro Sula”.
Then the film finally begins with viewers seeing the same woman before in a flashback. In the next scene, there is the introduction of Hecho as he is riding his scooter and almost runs into Nona. This is their first interaction and should have been their last.
Hecho is a young man with long hair and a scruffy beard who is seen in the film as always wearing a hat.
As the film goes on Nona and Hecho runs into each other at least five times in ten minutes. In these run-ins, Hecho seems to be following Nona. He is seen waiting outside her job which to me is weird because they literally just meet each other. In the film, Nona paints the dead as an occupation. She has hopes of being a painter or beautician.
The plethora of interactions between Hecho and Nona has inevitably caused them to develop a friendship in a short time. Nona has innocently told Hecho all about herself with him confessing nothing to her. She tells him of her father and brother death, so he knows she has little family in Honduras. She tells him about her mom in the United States and how her mom cannot afford to send for her. This little detail prompts the invitation from Hecho for Nona to travel with him to the United States free of charge. Naively, Nona agrees to accept Hecho invitation.
Now the journey to the dream, to the United States begin. The visuals as they both leave Honduras is beautiful. The Rawness shown in the communities and the people is amazing. But the visuals seen in the film are more than enough of a reason to see while many flee to come to the United States for a “better life”.
About an hour into the film, I was wondering when I was going to see the brutal truth of sex trafficking/human trafficking but then I realized this film was more about the entrapment of victims of sex trafficking/human trafficking. The very first interaction of Nona and Hecho was the beginning of the entrapment. From the fake run in, the following her, then getting her to tell him exactly what he needed to know, and the flirtation.
Nona was the perfect victim. She lived alone, had little to no family in Honduras and she had a reason to want to go to the United States.
The last 20- 25 minutes of the film is dark and anticipated. I think the transition should have been better because the first hour of the film was lively, happy, and positive. Then the next scene shown is Nona in a house crying. The scene before, viewers see Hecho putting a blindfold on her and telling her he’s going to meet her on the other side. So, how did the director go from the blindfold scene to Nona being in a whorehouse? I mean anybody with common sense can figure it out, but I think the impact would have been stronger if viewers got the chance to see her journey to the whorehouse.
The last 25 minutes of the film is where viewers get to see Nona in the whorehouse being assaulted. Luckily, she seems to only get assaulted once. Then, for some reason, the film takes this weird direction where it tries to convey sex trafficking as something that is not bad. They try to dress it up in a sense. The film shows the women and Nona dancing to a Spanish version of Taylor Swift song “Shake it Off”. After being assaulted, Nona makes herself acquainted with the other girls in the house. She almost seems happy.
I think the film failed to properly show the truth of sex trafficking because the fact that Nona was able to go to the store alone for make-up wipes was mind-blowing to me. Fortunately, she was able to go alone to the store because this is how she got put into police custody and maybe saved herself from more sexual abuse.
Overall, the film touches on very important issues in sex trafficking, human trafficking, and illegal immigration. Sex trafficking/human trafficking is a very lucrative business making billions of dollars a year.
The acting by all actors definitely makes up for the slow start of the film. Sulem Calderon is magnificent and as a new actor, she definitely carries the film. Her ability to act and narrate her life in the film was amazing.
Link to film: https://amzn.to/2Wcb8vk