A Better Life (2011)

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A Better Life: Directed by Chris Weitz. With Demián Bichir, Eddie ‘Piolin’ Sotelo, Joaquín Cosio, José Julián. A gardener in East L.A. struggles to keep his son away from gangs and immigration agents while trying to give his son the opportunities he never had.

“A Better Life is a pretty standard story. In fact, itu0026#39;s plot has some contrivances that I wish it didnu0026#39;t, and it doesnu0026#39;t feel as smooth as I wish, but for all of itu0026#39;s writing flaws, it still made me completely empathize for these characters. I connected with them in part because I know too much of the hardships of these kinds of people. My parents have had similar obstacles to overcome as well, and living not too far away from the area shown in this film, I know what it can be like. This is a good film, but then thereu0026#39;s Demian Bichir. u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThis never once feels like acting, and it wasnu0026#39;t until the final scene between Bichir and his son that I realized how effective this film had been. In that final scene, I actually let out tears. For the first time, the writing didnu0026#39;t feel contrived, or the dialogue weak. It all came together for Bichir, and in that final scene you break down with him. It is one of the best acted scenes of the year, and one of the most effective. It isnu0026#39;t until that final scene that you realize how much he has lured you in to his inner feelings, and how much he has made you care. It all sounds cheesy, and many times the film is, but that final scene between father and son is the only scene from 2011 that actually made me weep like a child. Powerful performance by Bichir, and completely deserved his nomination. I also want to mention that Jose Julian is also quite effective.”

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