7.2/10
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A Better Life (2011)

PG-13 | | Drama, Romance | 28 July 2011 (Thailand)
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A gardener in East L.A. struggles to keep his son away from gangs and immigration agents while trying to give his son the opportunities he never had.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (story)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Carlos Galindo (as Demian Bichir)
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Eddie 'Piolin' Sotelo
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Blasco Martinez
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Mrs. Donnelley
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Ramon
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Facundo
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Ruthie Valdez
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School Security Officer
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Juvie Officer
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School Secretary
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Anita
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Linda
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Santiago
...
Truck Driver
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Storyline

Carlos Galindo is a decent man, a Mexican single parent working as a gardener in California to raise Luis, his fourteen-year-old son, whom Carlos is frightened will drift into local gang culture. Carlos buys a truck for his work with money loaned by his sister but a shifty new employee steals it from him and, though Carlos and Luis track the thief down, he has sold the truck. Father and son bond as they reclaim the vehicle from the pound but Carlos attracts police attention, making his future in America uncertain when it is discovered that he is an illegal immigrant. Written by don @ minifie-1

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

gang | truck | gardener | police | money | See All (240) »

Taglines:

Every father wants more for his son

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some violence, language and brief drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

28 July 2011 (Thailand)  »

Also Known As:

The Gardener  »

Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$62,087 (USA) (24 June 2011)

Gross:

$1,754,319 (USA) (26 August 2011)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Chris Weitz liked to do all the dangerous scenes in the script before he asked his cast to perform them. A stunt double taught Weitz and Demián Bichir how to climb a palm tree, and although Weitz was first to successfully climb one, Bichir did go on to film all the scenes himself, without a stunt double. Weitz told the audience at a SAG Screening: "That is why in my films there are not many scenes that require stunt doubles". See more »

Goofs

When Carlos is chasing his stolen truck, he has his climbing belt in his hand. When he gives up and walks away, his hands are empty. See more »

Quotes

Carlos Galindo: This truck is my only chance to grow this into something big. So we can move out of here and get you in a better school.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The 84th Annual Academy Awards (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

El Aguanieve
Traditional
Arranged by Marcos Hernández and Artemio Posadas
Performed by Los Camperos del Valles
Courtesy of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Heartfelf and real.
23 June 2011 | by (Los Angeles, CA) – See all my reviews

I like how Chris Weitz kept the focus on the characters and avoided the usual politics of the subject matter. This movie kept the audience riveted to the screen without resorting to usual polemics found in similar subject films. Personally I think this movie is closer to "El Norte" than "The Bicycle Thief", maybe a mix of the two but still authentic. Superb performances by most of the cast including Demian Bichir as Carlos Galindo, newcomer Jose Julian as Luis Galindo, Joaquin Cosio as Blasco, Bobby Soto as Luis' friend. Richard Cabral, Jason Medwin and Tom Schanleys played very believable, three dimension roles. Eric Eason and Chris Weitz did a great job on balancing keeping it real and entertaining at the same time. Carlos, a Mexican gardener in the United States illegally doing all he can trying to single handed raise a son in a vulnerable age at a vulnerable time. If you are looking for a warm and heart felt movie without the overblown melodramas then this is a most see.


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