“Listos, para el otro lado”
“Vamos a casa"
A Better Life is a 2011 American drama film directed by Chris Weitz, most popularly known for his works with his brother Paul Weitz, particularly their debut, the crazy as heck teen comedy, An American Pie (1999) and the wonderful movie adaptation of equally excellent novel by Nick Hornby, About a Boy (2002). The screenplay, originally known as The Gardener, was written by Eric Eason based on a story by Roger L. Simon. This movie is Chris solo directorial work, and is quite a departure from his previous works, which I really dislike, The Golden Compass (2007), and Twilight : New Moon (2009).
I do not know any of the cast assembled in this movie, but Robert De Niro lookalike, Mexican actor Demián Bichir is an incredibly popular actor according to sources online, and he is actually nominated, the first time a Mexican actor received such honour since Anthony Quinn, for the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for this movie.
The story is a simple, straight forward tale of a Mexican illegal immigrant, Carlos Galindo, and his son, Luis. The movie also shows realistic, cultural and language depiction of the gangs and the plight of the Mexican illegal immigrants in LA.
Carlos works hard as a garderner to keep it all together. His wife has left him when they arrives in the States. Ultimately, Carlos wants nothing more than to bring up Luis and ensure that he would eventually have a better life - through better education, surroundings and so forth. For Carlos, Luis is his hope to cling on and endurance for facing the incredibly tiring life of endless hard works and avoiding detection by the abusive authorities. A constant social issue of which Carlos is aware of is the worry of Luis would be seduced to join street gangs as a quick exit from the crushing poverty and more than not, demoralising and lack of opportunities to evalate oneselves through the societal ladder. Luis is increasingly looking forward to join a local gang of which his girlfriend's brother is a member as well as being egged on by his best friend. Luis prefers truancy and hangs out at his girlfriend's apartment. He also feels that his father is a loser of some sort, and questions why they gives birth to him.
Things are normal initially and even looks bright for Carlos when an opportunity to own his own business comes about. But it eventually leads to a series of dire situations and eventually results in Carlos deportation. The final scene between Carlos and Luis, their conversations, particularly when Carlos answers Luis why they gives birth to him, really put a lump in my throat. But the closing scene shows a glimmer of hope, and it is that hope, and the love of a father towards his son and vice versa, which makes this movie a new favourite.