A Better Life: Film Review

‘A Better Life’ is the heartfelt story of a gardener living with his American born son in Los Angeles. Despite his illegal status, Carlos (Demian Bichir) dreams of giving the teenage boy, played by José Julián, better opportunities than he ever had.

Directed By Chris Weitz (About A Boy), the film beautifully shows the generational struggle between father and son and the reluctant inevitably of the son Luis, joining a local gang through peer pressure. Living in a one bedroom house, Carlos struggles to get the money together to start his own business and get on the road to a better life. When his hopes and dreams are dashed, it is then that the pair grow closer.

We see the pain and anguish in Carlos and how the son, Luis, seemingly for the first time tries to understand his father as he teaches him that the way of the street is not the only way to live.

This is a beautifully shot film and Demian Bichir is fantastic as Carlos (he even learned to climb those palm trees!). It’s everything a good movie should be. Interesting story, here, bringing the spotlight to the struggling illegal Mexican population of Los Angeles. It toys with a range of emotions and let’s you deeply connect with the characters. This is easily the best film I’ve seen this year.

A Better Life will be showing in the IFI from July 29th