A Better Life

A poor undocumented Mexican immigrant in L.A., intent on giving his 14-year-old son A Better Life, borrows money from his sister and buys his boss's truck and lawn care equipment. On the first day of his new life, the vehicle and tools are stolen by a fellow immigrant he's befriended. That's the wind up. The pitch is father and son (Demian Bechir and Jose Julian, respectively) set out to find the thief and the truck and salvage the father's dream and the son's future.

Chris Weitz has directed a warm film about illegal immigration that has so many moments of genuine, unadorned humanity that I couldn't help but pull for the disconnected pair. At one point during the search, father and son find themselves in the barrio, surrounded by faceless, struggling masses. The boy turns to his father and asks, his face a study in indignation, "Why did you have me? Why do poor people have children?" The father, dumbstruck, sets his eyes in the middle distance so as not to betray the pain he feels and says to his son. "Don't say that. Don't ever say that."

See this film before it gets away.

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