Down for Life (2009)

R  |   |  Drama  |  14 January 2011 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 261 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 1 critic

Based on a true story depicting a single dramatic day in the life of a Latina gang leader in South Central L.A.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jessica Romero ...
Mr. Shannon
Mr. Hightower
Officer Barber
Officer Guttierez
Andres Xavier Sanchez ...
Mrs. Rivera
Mrs. Castro
Whitney Gamble ...
Isamar Guijarro ...
Sheila Ochoa ...


Based on a true story depicting a single dramatic day in the life of a Latina gang leader in South Central L.A.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, pervasive language, some sexual content and drug use




Release Date:

14 January 2011 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Por vida  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

My vote for the best of the 2009 TIFF
8 October 2009 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

I rolled into TO for the last weekend of the 2009 TIFF (Toronto Int'l Film Festival) and went on a whirlwind movie spree, seeing nine movies in two days. Some, like My Son, My Son What Ye Done, were god awful, pretentious art-house junk and others, like Jennifer's Body, were pretty good, but head and shoulders above the other eight was Down For life. This gritty inner city drama, which is apparently a true story inspired by a New Times article, crackles with realism and the performers seem to be simply living rather than acting at all. The action scenes are gripping and look more like Youtube than Hollywood, thanks to the skilled direction of little-known director, Alan Jacobs.

Jessica Romero, was cast right off the streets of East Central to play the lead role of Rascal, the streetwise leader of a small women's wing of a Latino gang. The whole story takes place in a single chaotic day in her violence-filled life. Conflict surrounds her, both inside and outside the gang, as well as in the home. On top of all this is a looming deadline for entry to a summer writing program that Rasacal is being encouraged to apply for by a concerned teacher played by Danny Glover. The program might be an escape hatch to a better life or may just add to her problems. The crisp story moves along quickly and eventually takes us a scene so jarring that viewers seemed to jump back in their seats as one.

Down For Life is a current and raw film made in the vein of such inner city classics as Boyz n The Hood. It is an independent film and may be hard to find, but as the best film of 2009, thus far, it is well worth the effort. If you would like to read more of my reviews, slide over to

7 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Company not paying their actors on time. ystokes
Still not paid d44hedgehog
Finally, a film with a Latina prospective! Blueroses06
Por Vida Productions, LLC contact info ejmena-1
DOWN FOR LIFE (Por Vida) to Premier at TIFF 09 feuersteinj-1
great movie and concept on a very much needed topic jacqinthegym
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