A Better Life

July 29th, 2011








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A Better Life

Still of Demián Bichir, Chris Weitz and José Julián in A Better LifeStill of Demián Bichir in A Better LifeJesse Garcia at event of A Better LifeStill of Demián Bichir in A Better LifeStill of Demián Bichir and José Julián in A Better LifeStill of Demián Bichir and José Julián in A Better Life

Plot
A gardener in East L.A. struggles to keep his son away from gangs and immigration agents while trying to give his son the opportunities he never had.

Release Year: 2011

Rating: 7.0/10 (4,330 voted)

Critic's Score: 64/100

Director: Chris Weitz

Stars: Demián Bichir, José Julián, Eddie 'Piolin' Sotelo

Storyline
A gardener in East L.A. struggles to keep his son away from gangs and immigration agents while trying to give his son the opportunities he never had.

Writers: Eric Eason, Roger L. Simon

Cast:
Demián Bichir - Carlos Galindo
Eddie 'Piolin' Sotelo - Himself
Joaquín Cosio - Blasco Martinez
José Julián - Luis Galindo
Nancy Lenehan - Mrs. Donnely
Gabriel Chavarria - Ramon
Bobby Soto - Facundo
Chelsea Rendon - Ruthie Valdez
Trampas Thompson - School Security Officer
Tim Griffin - Juvie Officer
Valorie Hubbard - School Secretary
Dolores Heredia - Anita
Isabella Rae Thomas - Linda
Carlos Linares - Santiago
Robert Peters - Truck Driver

Taglines: Every father wants more for his son



Details

Official Website: Official Facebook |

Release Date: 29 July 2011

Filming Locations: Los Angeles, California, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $62,087 (USA) (26 June 2011) (4 Screens)

Gross: $1,759,252 (USA) (1 September 2011)



Technical Specs

Runtime: USA:



Did You Know?

Trivia:
Director Chris Weitz liked to do all the dangerous scenes in the script before he asked his cast to perform them. A stunt double taught Weitz and Demián Bichir how to climb a palm tree, and although Weitz was first to successfully climb one, Bichir did go on to film all the scenes himself, without a stunt double. Weitz told the audience at a SAG Screening: "That is why in my films there are not many scenes that require stunt doubles".

Quotes:
Carlos Galindo: This truck is my only chance to grow this into something big. So we can move out of here and get you in a better school.



User Review

Powerful and authentic glimpse into the human story of the intractable immigration issue

Rating: 9/10

- Kirk Honeycutt, film critic for the Hollywood Reporter and host of the UCLA film course where we previewed this movie immediately compared it to Vittorio De Sicas's 1948 classic film The Bicycle Thief . In it a man and his son search for a stolen bicycle vital for his job. Fast forward to the present time as Carlos, an undocumented immigrant, (played by Mexican super star Demian Bichir) and his teenage son (played by Jose Lulian, an American making his acting debut ) are on a similar quest. They are searching for Carlos' stolen truck which he bought with borrowed funds to give him his one chance to make a decent living as a gardener and pay off his debts. Where the original Italian movie painted a picture of the poverty in post war Italy, this film provides an insight into life in East Los Angeles with its poverty, gangs, immigrants desperate for work and living with constant fear of being deported. It captures the poignancy and the dilemmas of hard working immigrant families in cities like Los Angeles who are trying to survive and provide a better life for their children while one step away from being arrested and sent home. The screenplay by Eric Eason is short on words but crystal clear in the emotional impact which it provides not only with the stark reality of the situation that the father and son are faced with but in the emotional struggle that each of them must feel. Bichir's performance could not be better as his face tells his story as does his words in both English and Spanish (with appropriate subtitles). Veteran director Chris Weitz teamed with award winning Spanish cinema photographer Javier Aguirresarobe to put together a realistic vision of the characters and environment which was filmed in 69 different locations in Los Angeles. Despite the effectiveness of the film, there are no clear villains and no new calls for action. While there may be a morsel of hope there is also the depressing possibility of a never ending line of people with crushed dreams. The film, itself, is an amazingly powerful and authentic glimpse into the human story that is part of the "intractable immigration issue." The emotional pull precludes over intellectualizing. (2011)




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