Demián Bichir, José Julián, Carlos Linares, Eddie "Piolín" Sotelo, Joaquín Cosio, Nancy Lenehan, Gabriel Chavarria, Bobby Soto, Chelsea Rendon, Kimberly Morales and Lizbeth Leon.
A Better Life is a movie that was released last year and i didn't saw it as i thought it didn't look very special or award worthy but just another low budge B grade movie. I was wrong when in the award season, Demian Bichir got nominated for SAG and then to the surprising Oscar nomination. That was when i realised and finally decided to watch the movie before the Oscars ceremony took place and i liked it and loved the performance. A better life is a movie based on the illegal immigrants of the Hispanic community in Los Angeles and shows the daily life of them but mainly focuses on one family. Demian Bichir as Carlos is father of Luis played by Jose Julian. Carlos works everyday very hard as a gardener and hardly gets enough payment but still they survive. His wife is dead so that explains the whole father son awkwardness that they have where Luis goes to school comes home but feels a bit distant from his father and he don't seem to much give a damn about what his father says. That said, Luis is not a bad person or an evil, he doesn't talk back or is rude in anyway but the way he acts is just because he is angry at his mother not being there and then to have died. As being from this current generation, Luis doesn't really care for his cultural roots or anything and calls the music and everything stupid and the language too. He has a girlfriend in the school whose family is in the prominent drug dealing and in crime business but he tries not to adapt or anything and also his girlfriend cares for him in that way too. When his other friends gets into the whole crime scene, he somehow thinks that might be good for him and wishes desire to do the same while not being too confident about the decision as this is not what he really wants to do but he is just acting out.
On the other hand with the financial help of his sister, Carlos buys the truck and professional gardening tools from someone as to become more financially stable. But one day, the man that he works with steals everything and runs away and Carlos is unable to catch him. He finds out about him and gets there to take his truck back but finds out that he sold it. Carlos is arrested by Police as an illegal immigrant when he and Luis tries to get it from the garage. This is a very heartbreaking movie and definitely not a stereotypical one of any sort. The director makes sure it don't get too far because all he wants it to show a simple story about a simple man with dreams and ambitions about his family. Carlos is a man who sees the best in everyone and everything which makes him very special, he is not some ordinary character of any sorts. Carlos is an illegal immigrant for sure but doesn't do anything illegal of that sort but earns his money by good means. He wants his son to grow up in a good way to be well educated and dreams for a bright future for both of them. Even when someone does something bad to him he still reacts in a good way he is a very positive man. The scene towards the end when before being deported he meets his son for the final time is just a big heartbreaking and touching one when he tries to be sorry for what he did (if he did) and for not being there to Luis. Luis reply with very positiveness and promises to study heard and become a good man that he always wanted and Carlos promises to return back for him.
This is a very simple movie with not so complicated plot or narration and doesn't tries to break any big things of that sort but just tells a simple story. Movie itself is not over dramatic or very sentimental. Not some major flaws but it could have been written with much more passion or effort so it could have been much great. A few dragging moments kind of gets in the way too and a few repetitions. It acts very well as a whole character study drama as the character development in the movie have been done superbly. You get deep into their skin and after a while into the movie you seem to get more about them than what you have seen which is a very good thing. The father-son talk moments are very good while they don't get very showy or phony but brilliantly effective and really gets the movie going and doesn't feel dragged. Director really seemed focused on this aspect of the movie which is a very good thing. I would say Demian Bichir performed really good and very believable in his role with a man determined to do what is best and trying very hard to get what might be difficult but not impossible. A very well directed sensitive drama with emotional intensity which really makes it a worth watching movie. You will think about the characters even after the movie ends as they are very effective in many ways.