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“A Better Life” Review

A Better Life (2011)

‘A Better Life’ follows the story of Carlos Galindo (Demián Bichir), a Mexican illegal immigrant in the US who works as a gardener at rich people’s mansions. Carlos is also a single father, raising his teenage son Luis (José Julián). When Carlos sees the chance to better his and his son’s life with the purchase of a new truck, he scraps every dollar and buys it. When the truck is stolen, desperate Carlos teams up with his son to try to return it.

Background and lead acting

The film features a Hispanic cast; was co-financed and released by Summit Entertainment; and was directed by Chris Weitz, who, incidentally, also directed ‘American Pie’ (1999) and ‘About a Boy’ (2002), as well as the more recent ‘The Twilight Saga: New Moon’ (2009). However, the unknown cast, lack of viable promotion and the contrived trailer may give an impression that the film belongs to some foreign film festival at best, instantly to be discarded upon seeing. This impression is very false. ‘A Better Life’ is a film full of meaning, portraying an ordinary life with extraordinary skill. Undoubtedly drawing inspiration from a classic ‘The Bicycle Thieves’ (1948), the issues which concern ‘A Better Life’ are as old as time. Ranging from the American Dream themes to the issues of morality, guilt, remorse and forgiveness in the modern world, ‘A Better Life’ provides for an all-encompassing glance into the life of the society’s outsiders, while, at the same time, remaining narratively-simple and clear as to its message. 

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