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Movie Review | A Better Life

I didn’t know much about A Better Life before seeing the movie, except it had about an 85% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which is pretty good. It turned out to be a heartbreaking, sad movie, but with characters that you will think about long after the movie has ended.

Carlos Galindo (Demián Bichir, TV’s “Weeds”) is an illegal alien who has lived in the U.S. for a while now, and his son, Luis (newcomer José Julián) was born in this country. Carlos works as a gardener in the hopes that one day he and Luis can move out of their unsafe Los Angeles neighborhood, and Luis can go to a better school. Carlos has no form of transportation, and when his friend is selling his truck, complete with gardening tools, he asks his sister for a loan, in the hopes that he will have his own gardening business. His first day with the truck, he hires another illegal, Santiago (Carlos Linares, “Where the Road Meets the Sun”), to work for him; however, while climbing a palm tree, Santiago steals the keys to the truck and leaves with it. Carlos and Luis must find Santiago and the truck, because the truck and the business is their only hope for having a better life

Maybe see this movie. The film is definitely an eye-opener to how conditions are for illegals. Carlos tries very hard to make a more secure life for him and Luis, but eventually he ends up in jail, and then deported back to Mexico, because he was pulled over by the police one night and doesn’t have a driver’s license. Luis is very “Americanized”–he has an iPod, and all of his friends are in gangs and are encouraging him to join. Carlos doesn’t want him to get caught up with gangs, and ruin his life. The illegals all gather at a certain corner in L.A., and a man drives up because he needs some of them for work, usually only one or two workers at a time, leaving the others out of luck. 

The film was very sad, especially the ending, but it also had a coherent plot and a definite storyline. The end is a bit “open-ended,” and it made me wonder what eventually happened to the characters, especially Carlos and Luis. I say “Maybe” see the film because it is a bit slow, even though it’s only about an hour and a half long; if you are okay with films that are slow but tell an interesting story, however, you will like A Better Life.

A Better Life is in theaters today, July 15th.

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[author_info]About the Author

Liz is our regular movie reviewer and writes for her own film blog, Yes/No Films, as well as The NYLA Report, FREEISMYLIFE, and the Detroit Examiner. You can follow her on Facebook and on Twitter.



Liz is our regular movie reviewer and writes for her film blog (Yes/No Films) and book blog (Books I Think You Should Read), as well as and CBS Detroit. You can follow her on Facebook and on Twitter.

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