Thursday, April 3, 2008

Under the Same Moon - La Misma Luna

Directed by Patricia Riggen, this is a wonderful film in all regards - heart-wrenching and heart-warming.

A quest story, if you will, as a young 9-year old boy living in Mexico with his grandmother, who, when grandmother dies, sets out to cross the border and be reunited with his mother who lives and works in LA. His mother, Rosario (Kate del Castillo) has been in LA for four years, and she faithfully calls Carlitos every Sunday morning at 10:00 AM.

She describes to him the pay-phone corner from which she's calling ... Carlitos (Adrian Alonzo) can imagine it in his mind.

From the title, the moon shines in both their lives - it's the same moon, and when Carlitos is lonely for his Mother, she tells him to look at the moon, the same moon she's looking at, and they'll be close to one another.

I found myself profoundly moved by the story, quite tense at times, and uttering a few prayers toward the end.

Along the way, young Carlitos meets a raggedy cast of characters - some cruel and terrible, some kindly and helpful, and one delightful rogue (Eugenio Derbez) who has a heart after all, sacrificing himself for Carlitos.

The film powerfully highlights the life of an "illegal" - and even as I type that word, how easily we use a title to avoid the simple realities of real people hoping to find life. In this regard, the film doesn't "preach," but only tells a human story.

Jacqueline Voltaire who plays Mrs. McKenzie, an "employer" or Rosario, does a marvelous job of portraying a pathetic wealthy woman in a terrible marriage who treats Rosario with utter contempt even as she reveals the brokenness and sadness of her imprisoning wealth. I wanted to slap her silly!

A combination of Spanish (with subtitles) and English, the film delivers a grand story - family, love, romance and hope.

A must-see film!