Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A Better Life - Movie Review

I was trying to watch another big star movie with lots of names and lots of gunfire but it just would not interest me. And then I switched to this movie 'A Better Life' and was instantly hooked. It is about a Mexican immigrant (illegal as it turns out) who works as a gardener in the US. He lives with  his young teenaged son who is studying in a school. His son, however, has friends who are related to Mexican gang leaders and is drawn to their life.

The gardener is a single father and works hard to bring up his son and educate him. The son is ashamed of his father's low lifestyle, his way of begging for work while standing at street corners, and is more attracted to the gangs and their tattoos. The father buys a truck to propel his dream of earning more money and getting a better life, the truck gets stolen. The father and son go out to recover the truck and in the process, the father gets arrested. The father is deported back to Mexico but the son is allowed to stay with the father's sister. In the jail, the father and son discuss their lives, and the father tells his son how his mother left him and how he hoped his son would make a good future for himself.

It's a simple, lovely movie with no frills but all the drama in the world. I could not take my eyes off the screen for a moment and was totally drawn into the father's struggle, his honesty in the face of his hardship, his son's dilemma and his acceptance of his culture. The song that the father sang to the boy when he was a child, the pain when the father breaks down before his son thinking that he has failed his son and the son's comforting words that he had always been there for him are such simple stuff that one can always relate to any number of times if they are told the right way. I loved the movie. 'A Better Life' is a good watch on one of those lonely evenings.