A gardener tries to keep his son away from gangs and federal agents while traveling across Los Angeles to work on wealthy people's lawns.
" A major star in Mexico, Bichir is quietly affecting as the father, a humble striver who faces loss at every turn. "
" The people here seem real, their world is shaky at best, and the political tension that permeates everything in this film feels palpable. "
" There are sequences here, like the ones involving men massing for work on street corners, or working the night shift washing dishes, that highlight a closed-off society too often neglected in the movies -- not to mention in real life. "
" Bichir redeems the secondhand plot and on-the-nose dialogue. "
" Bichir delivers a powerful, nuanced performance as a stoic but complex character who treats everyone -- even those who have wronged him -- with a dignity he rarely receives. "
" It's generic and small but manages to reel you in and surprise you with its grimness. "
" Bichir delivers a note-perfect performance of determination, defeat and pride. "
" It's straight, true and heartbreaking, a masterstroke of raw emotional minimalism. "
" Notwithstanding its modest scope, "A Better Life" richly documents the life of an invisible man. "
" Director Chris Weitz neatly avoids sanctimony by centering the engrossing story on a father-son relationship, letting the audience make up its own mind about the overarching matter of illegal immigration. "
" Once you get past the cliched Spanglish dialogue and the sentimental tone of the early acts, "A Better Life" settles down into something both involving and moving. "
" "A Better Life" might not change any minds about immigration policy, but it illuminates the conversation with context, compassion and understanding. "
" The film's trajectory is rather predictable, but then so was the story told by "The Bicycle Thief." But the performances are pitch perfect... "
" A compassionate character study of a man modeling the values of heart, hard work, self-respect, and self-reliance to his spawn. "
" Weitz, who directed the excellent 2002 Hugh Grant movie, "About a Boy," once more does a sensitive job with iffy material. "
" No matter where you stand on immigration, A Better Life is must-see viewing, poignantly revealing what it's like living confined to the shadows of contemporary society. "
" If we can see how things will play out long before the characters do, it's still powerful and, one gets the feeling, valuable - not just as a document of the immigration struggle but as a film. "
" Personalizes the illegal immigrant experience and digs much deeper into what has become a national disgrace. "
" The didacticism takes the shine off Weitz's accomplishment, even if the film builds up enough empathy to generate slow-burning emotional impact. "
" Neither hopeful nor hopeless, the story is about embracing heritage while striving for more, all the while trying not to step on the neck of your brother. "
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