Photo: Demián Bichir and José Julián star in "A Better Life"
As the GOP’s presidential debates force the candidates to clarify their policies, undocumented immigration
One film tugs at viewers’ heart strings as they watch a Mexican father’s try gut-wrenching attempt to provide for and reconnect with his estranged son.
“A Better Life” follows undocumented father Carlos Galindo (Demián Bichir) as he lives a low-profile life as a landscaper in East Los Angeles and as he tries to give his son Luis (José Julián) a better life than he had.
It all start to fall apart for the hard-working father when his new work truck is stolen. Due to his undocumented status, he is afraid to go to the police and attempts to find the vehicle on his own.
From the moment the truck is stolen, things only get worse and the film follows Galindo through the struggle.
What makes this movie so different from others on the topic is the realness behind it all.
The movie is actually based on a situation producer Paul Witt witnessed more than 20 years ago. He says his neighbor’s gardener had his truck stolen and subsequently lost his livelihood because of it. He could not report the theft because he is not in the country legally.
To bring reality to the screen, director Chris Weitz (The Twilight Saga: New Moon) worked with Rev. Gregory Boyle of Homeboy Industries, which is run by former gang members. This collaboration provided the movie with a real sense of Los Angeles, as they cast and crew shot is 96 locations around the city. It also brought a real sense of language to the film, as the script was modified to include authentic slang and linguistic differences used throughout L.A.
“A Better Life” was released on June 24, and has received primarily positive reviews, including one from Peter Travers of Rolling Stone Magazine saying it delivers “raw emotional power” while not using the script “to build a pulpit.” He adds that A Better Life “lets us into the mind and heart of a man most of us walk past and never see.”
The film comes out on DVD Tuesday, October 18.