Mi Vida Loca

Mi Vida Loca (also known as My Crazy Life) is a 1993 American drama film directed and written by Allison Anders. It centers on the plight of cholas (the female counterparts to cholos) growing up in the Echo Park section of Los Angeles, who face the struggles of friendship, romantic entanglements, motherhood, and gang membership. The story follows interlocking stories of several female gang members while centering on the friendship between two friends who become involved with the same man.

Mi Vida Loca
Mi Vida Loca.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAllison Anders
Written byAllison Anders
Produced by
CinematographyRodrigo García
Edited by
Music byJohn Taylor
Distributed bySony Pictures Classics
Release dates
  • May 21, 1993 (1993-05-21) (Cannes)
  • November 1993 (1993-11) (Stockholm)
  • July 15, 1994 (1994-07-15) (United States)
  • March 24, 1995 (1995-03-24) (United Kingdom)
Running time
92 minutes
CountriesUnited States
United Kingdom
Box office$3.2 million[1]

With the exception of the lead characters, the cast consisted of unknown actors, some of whom were actual gang members from Echo Park. It also marks the first film appearances of Salma Hayek and Jason Lee, in small roles.


In Echo Park, Los Angeles, a neighborhood that has seen a significant amount of gang activity over the past decade, two young Mexican-American women, friends since childhood, join the local gang. They are each given the gang names Mousie and Sad Girl, names which are handed down from one generation to the next. Mousie and Sad Girl pride themselves for remaining loyal to each other and their gang, but their friendship becomes fractured when they both fall for gangster Ernesto, a.k.a. Bullet. Ernesto eventually bears a child with both women, leading them to become rivals, and also turns to drug-dealing for financial support. Other plot lines involve La Blue Eyes, Sad Girl's college-bound sister; Whisper, who learns the drug-dealing ropes from Ernesto; and Giggles, who is fresh out of prison after doing time for a crime committed by her boyfriend. When Ernesto is killed in a drug deal gone wrong, Sad Girl and Mousie realize they must put betrayals, heartbreak and tragedies behind them if they hope to rise above their situations.


  • Angel Aviles as Mona "Sad Girl"
  • Seidy López as Marivel "Mousie"
  • Jacob Vargas as Ernesto "Bullet"
  • Nelida Lopez as "Whisper"
  • Marlo Marron as Angelica "Giggles"
  • Christina Solis as "Baby Doll"
  • Arthur Esquer as "Shadow"
  • Julian Reyes as "Big Sleepy"
  • Gabriel Gonzales as "Sleepy"
  • Magali Alvarado as Alicia "La Blue Eyes"
  • Jesse Borrego as Juan "El Duran" Temido
  • Bertila Damas as Rachel
  • Monica Lutton as Chucky
  • Devine as "Devine"
  • Veronica Arrellano as "Stranger"
  • Panchito Gómez as "Joker Bird"
  • Noah Verduzco as "Chuco"
  • Angelo Martinez as "Rascal"
  • Danny Trejo as Frank "Casual Dreamer"
  • Eddie Perez as "Sir Speedy"
  • Desire Galvez as "Dimples"
  • Salma Hayek as "Gata"
  • Los Lobos as Party Band
  • Jason Lee as Teenage Drug Customer
  • Spike Jonze as Teenage Drug Customer


Allison Anders was inspired to write Mi Vida Loca after moving to Echo Park in 1986 and becoming acquainted with members of the local gang, Echo Park Locas.[2][3][4] Anders said,

My goal was to get inside their heads and understand, just as I would any subculture. But because of the criminal element and police harassment, I felt an extra responsibility to discover and convey their hopes and dreams, no matter what they were, and not through society’s expectations. I felt like if after seeing Mi Vida Loca if one person who connected to Whisper or Baby Doll or Ernesto any of the characters saw a chola on the street, maybe they’d not just dismiss them, they’d know a beating heart with dreams all their own."[2]

Rodrigo García was the film's cinematographer.[2]

The film is dedicated to the memory of Nica Rogers, a member of the Echo Park Locas who appears briefly in the film and died after filming concluded.[2][5] After the movie's release, Anders and Film Independent established a scholarship program to help assist the kids of Echo Park with higher education.[2]


A soundtrack containing hip hop and contemporary R&B was released on March 8, 1994 by Mercury Records. It peaked at 70 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.

Critical receptionEdit

Mi Vida Loca received positive reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that the film has earned a 74% based on 23 reviews, with an average rating of 6.4 out of 10.[6]

Critic Roger Ebert awarded the film 3 out of 4 stars. Though he said the film's story lacked structure and felt it "is more anecdotal than involving", he noted, "what we do get is a vivid impression of these young women and their world, and an understanding of how the gang performs a social function [in that world] that otherwise would be missing. Perhaps in not forming into a story, the movie does a service, by not forcing a conclusion where none should exist. The gangs have no beginning or end. They exist, and continue, as new faces appear and old ones disappear for good reasons and bad."[7]

In a positive review, The Buffalo News wrote the film captures a world "where romantic dreams, friendships, codes of honor, and ambitions are played out with every bit of the intensity found just a few dozen blocks away [in Hollywood], in million-dollar neighborhoods packed with moguls and stars. Yet for all its gritty realism, Mi Vida Loca is not so much a gang story as it is a love story, crammed with the romance that fuels these girls' relationships with each other, their babies and their men."[8]

Emanuel Levy credited Anders with avoiding "sensationalism or condescension", saying, "To her credit, Anders doesn’t patronize the Latino community with another stereotypical portrait. 'The last thing I wanted,' Anders declared in a manifesto, 'and certainly the last thing these kids needed was to be colonized by a white liberal, preaching a point of view that hands out easy solutions.'"[9] However, Levy, as well as Todd McCarthy of Variety, felt the film also "lacks a discernible point of view."[10]

Year-end listsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Mi Vida Loca". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 13, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d e Gil, Caroline (May 14, 2018). "Allison Anders on Mi Vida Loca". Screen Slate. Retrieved December 13, 2022.
  3. ^ "Allison Anders by Bette Gordon". Bomb. July 1, 1994. Retrieved December 13, 2022.
  4. ^ Simpson, David Mark (July 24, 2013). "The Gangs of Echo Park". Los Angeles. Retrieved December 13, 2022.
  5. ^ Hartl, John (July 17, 1994). "Director's Dream -- Mi Vida Loca Was Inspired By Young Women In The 'Hood". The Seattle Times. Retrieved December 14, 2022.
  6. ^ "Mi Vida Loca (My Crazy Life) (1993)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 10, 2022.
  7. ^ Ebert, Roger (August 12, 1994). "Mi Vida Loca". RogerEbert.com. Retrieved December 13, 2022.
  8. ^ "In the Jungle: 'Mi Vida Loca' Traces Gangs Fueled by Love in the Barrio a World Away Risky Business on the Streets of Los Angeles". The Buffalo News. September 2, 1994. Archived from the original on December 13, 2022. Retrieved December 13, 2022.
  9. ^ Levy, Emanuel (May 2, 2006). "Mi Vida Loca: Allison Anders' Tale of Latinas Gangs, Follow-Up to Gas Food Lodging". EmanuelLevy.com. Retrieved December 14, 2022.
  10. ^ McCarthy, Todd (May 25, 1993). "Mi Vida Loca". Variety. Retrieved December 14, 2022.
  11. ^ Dudek, Duane (December 30, 1994). "1994 was a year of slim pickings". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 3.

External linksEdit