A Better Life

First Hit: This was a powerfully acted film which showed light on the immigrant and immigration issue in the United States.

Carlos Galindo (played by Demian Bichir) is an illegal immigrant attempting to make a life for himself and his son in Los Angeles.

He keeps his head low. He attempts to be “invisible” while attempting to create a better life for his son. His wife has left him. The man he works for, Blasco Martinez (played by Joaquin Cosio), has been following his dream in LA as an owner operator of a gardening company and truck. He’s made enough to retire on a farm in Mexico so now he wants to sell his truck and business clients to Carlos.

Carlos is hesitant, it will put him into debt, he has no driver’s license, and he won’t be as invisible any longer. His son Luis (played by Jose Julian), is smart but being pulled by gangs, his gang linked girlfriend, and the embarrassment that his dad is a gardener. Carlos takes the risk, buys the truck and the events that follow bring him and his son closer together.

This film points out the difficulty illegal aliens have in staying in the United States. I was constantly reminded of the human work lineup that stand on the corners in our towns in the Bay Area.

Bichir is amazing as Carlos. The grip tight reigns on his emotions, the focus on showing up each day and doing a quality job but staying silent was perfect for his character. Cosio as his boss was emblematic of a man who did what he needed to do to get to his payday. Julian was very good as the son who is partially embarrassed yet proud of his father’s willingness to do what it takes to make a life for the two of them. Eric Eason wrote a wonderful screenplay. Chris Weitz selected wonderful locations and extracted a great performance from Galindo. Growing up in Southern California and as a father, I felt that Weitz got the feeling just right.

Overall: This was a wonderful film and definitely worth seeing.