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A Better Life (2011)

PG-13 | | Drama, Romance | 28 July 2011 (Thailand)
2:15 | Trailer

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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.



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



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


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) »


Every father wants more for his son


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

28 July 2011 (Thailand)  »

Also Known As:

The Gardener  »

Box Office


$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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


$1,754,319 (USA) (26 August 2011)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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 »


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 »


Carlos Galindo: You are the most important thing in this world to me, mijo.
See more »


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


Y Tu Tan Lejos
Written by Victor Ochoa
Performed by El Mayo De La Sierra
Courtesy of La Disco Music / Twiins Enterprises
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Effortlessly Beautiful!
25 February 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Quite simply put this is an absolutely amazing film.

Demian Bichir is top class and fully deserves his Oscar nomination and probably deserves it more than most of the other nominees's. People are saying its a shock nomination however if you have seen the film you will understand completely why he got it.

Truly beautiful and am not afraid to say it made me cry. i know this is a massive topic in the United States however absolutely anybody can and will connect with this film. its not just a tail about illegal immigrants its an incredibly powerful father and son tale.

I will be tuning in to the academy awards this Sunday hoping he can win it!

If anything just give the film a watch you wont be disappointed!

17 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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