UNDER THE SAME MOON (LA MISMA LUNA) tells the parallel stories of nine-year-old Carlitos and his mother, Rosario. In the hopes of providing a better life for her son, Rosario works illegally in the U.S. while her mother cares for Carlitos back in Mexico. Unexpected circumstances drive both Rosario and Carlitos to embark on their own journeys in a desperate attempt to reunite. Along the way, mother and son face challenges and obstacles but never lose hope that they will one day be together again. Written by
One can never accuse this film of reaching classic heights, but one can truly say it tries very hard, a little too hard at times. Throughout the film, there are moments that transcend its obvious attempts to manipulate its audience, but it never rises to sublime status, like "Cinema Paradiso" did by tying a personal story to the evolution of a society that lost its innocence and the ability to dream. The parallels in that movie were delicately explored, as Toto's story and that of his beloved city traveled similar path. In "Moon" things could have moved beyond soap opera status. Unfortunately, the tears flow much too easily, even when the situation doesn't quite earn them.
A hard working mother has lost her connection with her 9 year old. Because of her move to the U.S., she lives in constant fear of not doing the best for her child, and to make matters worse, her little boy feels like he is not wanted anymore. Things become worse as events develop in such a way that he is forced to follow the path of many other immigrants and endure a series of ordeals to reunite with his parent.
Along the way, we are witness to many situations undocumented aliens are exposed to, and the film makes an honest attempt to present most people in a fair way, though there are some characterizations that are at best sketchy. The main points are there, but the subtlety is missed.
There are some good performances here, and the male actors do much better, as the young boy easily explores an amazing range of emotions. In addition there are two supporting actors that don't quite succumb to the stereotypes of the uneducated immigrant that most people associate with this type of situation. Eugenio Derbez in particular, does an amazing job as the hardened sidekick who discovers his heart might still be open to caring.
The part of the mother is underwritten and opportunities are not fully explored as we wish we could know more of what propelled her into taking the drastic option of moving to the United States. She is a hard worker, a loving mother, but mostly a shell of character, one who cries on cue, but rarely projects any substance.
In general, the film is a lovely social commentary that might reach a few people and open the way to understanding the plight of some members in society. We only wish we could see a more real portrayal of them.
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