Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Better Life (2011)

Whether you're in favour of illegal immigration in the USA or not, Chris Weitz's A Better Life is definitely an eye-opener.

Set in East Los Angeles, we follow Carlos Galindo (Demián Bichir), a Mexican illegal immigrant. He works seven days a week as a gardener/tree trimmer for a Hispanic entrepreneur (Joaquín Cosio) who has the U.S. citizenship. Carlos also has a son, Luis (José Julián). Before he retires, the entrepreneur tells Carlos he wants to sell his truck and his equipments. To buy the truck and, by extension, the American dream, Carlos borrows money from his sister, Anita (Dolores Heredia), who has her citizenship.

With his new truck, Carlos finally gets to go to a pick-up site and handpick an illegal immigrant who will get to work for him. Carlos also believes that he'll finally be able to give to his son what he never had and keep him away from Hispanic criminal gangs. Unfortunately, things go awry when Carlos's employee steals his truck. Even though he grew apart from his dad, Luis decides to help his dad find the truck.

Although Chris Weitz is himself of Hispanic heritage, A Better Life will surprise you, because the film is not complacent with neither illegal immigrants nor the American government. With the mature pen of scriptwriter Eric Eason, Chris Weitz understands that most illegal immigrants are too preoccupied on trying to find work that they don't think about getting their papers that will guarantee them the right to legally stay in the USA.

What's even more beautiful with A Better Life is that Weitz doesn't seem to take a stance on illegal immigration. Are most illegal immigrants' refusal to get the U.S. citizenship the source of the problem or is it the lack of preparation from the American government? We can care less about that, because for once, we get a film that finally tells a story.

Unfortunately, the acting is a little bit unequal, because I had the feeling that José Julián, who plays Luis, didn't reach me in some dramatic scenes.

Rating: 3.5/5

Origin:USA (2011)
Length:98 minutes
Screenplay:Eric Eason
Director:Chris Weitz
Starring:Demian Bichir and José Julian

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