Raising Voices review, Spanish #MeToo series set in a high school

Nicole Wallace in Raising Voices

Raising Voices (Ni una más) starts slow with a couple of episodes introducing us to four teen girls who are friends. It feels very slight. By episode three the thematic elements of feminism, misogyny, and sexual assault have been introduced. The tone changes and the series becomes compelling and intense.

Raising Voices opens with Alma (Nicole Wallace) hanging a banner at the entrance to her school. Translated, it says, “Beware! A rapist is hiding here.” She attracts the attention of everyone in the building. Then the story backs up several months and we see what lead up to Alma’s action.

The Four Girls

Let’s take a look at the four friends. Alma is the main character. She’s in the middle of a rebellion against her parents (Eloy Azorin and Ruth Díaz). She smokes weed, drinks, and disobeys them in every way. Finally she’s grounded. She sneaks out, gets completely wasted, and has a terrible experience with a boy from her school. From this point on she’s a different and troubled girl.

Clara Galle and Nicole Wallace in Raising Voices

Greta (Clara Galle) is Alma’s lifetime best friend. Her family is having financial problems and they have a pot farm in the basement to make money. Greta’s brother David (José Pastor) manages the pot farm. Alma has a big crush on David. On the night she got so wasted, she made a pass at him, which he rejected.

Greta is a lesbian. She and Alma make out sometimes, but they are basically friends. Greta meets an older woman named Mercedes (possibly Carolina Lapausa – IMDb is incomplete). Greta sells weed to Mercedes and visits her home weekly. She has a big crush on the woman. She learns that Mercedes is a police officer. This terrifies her family who take measures to move the pot farm out of their basement. Actually, Mercedes turns out to be a help, but Greta doesn’t know that right away.

Gabriel Guevara and Aicha Villaverde in Raising Voices

Nata (Aicha Villaverde) is another friend. She is often with Alberto (Gabriel Guevara). Alberto is an abusive, manipulative boyfriend. He often calls Alma a whore and doesn’t treat Nata well. Alma and Greta urge her to dump him, but she is slow to do it.

Teresa de Mera and Nicole Wallace in Raising Voices

Berta (Teresa de Mera) is the fourth friend. She is troubled in many ways. She confesses to Alma that their history teacher (Iván Massagué) raped her numerous time. She changed schools to get away from him, but is still dealing with many problems.

When Alma learns about the teacher and reflects on her own bad night of abuse she wants to do something to help. She tries to get evidence on the teacher. She looks for other cases that might involve him. It leads to her desperate act of hanging the banner outside the school that opened the series. Alma’s courage was inspiring, but it came after months of struggle and conflict with her friends, parents, and school officials.

The actors are excellent in this. The relationship between Alma and Greta is well done with good chemistry and familiarity between them. The action gets more and more dramatic and intense as the series proceeds. It brings a powerful message about women’s power to create change and help themselves. In addition to the motif about men’s mistreatment of women, there are themes about mental health, trust, family, and believing women.

Raising Voices was a good title for the series, but the Spanish Not One More (Ni una más) sends a message, too.

Marta Font Pascual is the only woman director. She directed 2 of the 8 episodes. There were a number of sex scenes in the series, but they were handled well. I didn’t feel overwhelmed by ‘the male gaze’ in those scenes. Not all the men were abusive – there were some good male characters, too.

The series is on Netflix. All the episodes are available now. The series is based on a novel by Miguel Sáez Carral.

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