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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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(screenplay), (story)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Director: Chris Weitz
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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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
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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 (243) »

Taglines:

Every father wants more for his son

Genres:

Drama

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:

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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

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

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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 country is a land of dreams. It can be a hard place, a cruel place. But it's where I work, and I dream of a better place for my son.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Final de partida: Los premios Óscar (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Y Tu Tan Lejos
Written by Victor Ochoa
Performed by El Mayo De La Sierra
Courtesy of La Disco Music / Twiins Enterprises
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Hope When All Is Lost
23 June 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Film Critic from BW Times. I was able to catch an advance screening of this film the other night and what a pleasure it was to experience. From the trailer, I pretty much felt like it was another one of those pessimistic man vs. the world stories, but stood corrected after realizing the depth and strength of such a wondrous story. Emphasizing one of the most pressing issues we have been facing, immigration, A Better Life not only captures the difficulty of the life of an immigrant but also the substantial bond between father and son. Powerful performances by both the main characters played by Demian Bichir and Jose Julian had so much chemistry that majestically captured a sincere sense of realism. The climactic scene between them near the end should be enough to get them Academy nominations. Another crucial figure that Director Christ Weitz executed nicely was the appearance of East and Lower areas of LA. I invited a friend who grew up in such area and he claimed that it was a true depiction; so much so that it brought back memories of his childhood! A Better Life is a complete recipe of amazing film-making, great storyline, and outstanding performances. It is not trying to be predictable or unpredictable, it knocks the audiences into life's difficulties by evoking aspects within our society. A must see cinematic adventure that will make you feel human.


47 of 56 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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