A Better Life - Review

Dramas about illegal immigrants have often focused on the journey north — an odyssey pocked with exploitation and fear, but one that generally ends on a note of road-weary triumph. In A Better Life, however, the focus is on the plight of undocumented immigrants who are already ensconced in the United States. Carlos (Demián Bichir), an unassuming gardener, came up from Mexico years ago and made a home in Los Angeles, but to call anything about his existence ''settled'' would be an exaggeration. His wife, frustrated by his modest ambitions, left him long ago, and the son he's raised on his own, Luis (José Julián), is a sullen teenager increasingly drawn to the tattooed allure of gang life. Carlos must keep his head down, literally and emotionally, but anyone who looks at him and sees a meek, pleading, recessive man isn't reading between the lines of Demián Bichir's superb slow simmer of a performance. His Carlos is a silent striver who, like the heroes of The Bicycle Thief and Man Push Cart, embodies a humanity that is ultimately heartbreaking. Read More...



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