Under the Same Moon (2007) Poster

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8/10
Beautiful in the moonlight
moutonbear2513 April 2008
A mother gets up before the sun rises on Los Angeles to take the first of many buses to get to the first of her two housecleaning jobs. Elsewhere, in Mexico, her nine-year-old son still sleeps soundly in his bed. Before she left him over four years prior, she told him that should he ever find himself lonely and missing her, that he need only look up to moon in the sky and know that she too would be looking and thinking of him. In that thought, both the title and the dualistic tone are set for a surprisingly poignant piece about the borders that keep both countries and people apart. Director Patricia Riggen's UNDER THE SAME MOON is a brave film that proudly puts a face to an issue that has polarized America. While the main focus surrounds precocious Carlito (Adrian Alonso) as he crosses the US/Mexican border to find his mother after a family death leaves him alone, his journey draws attention to the plight of a people who want only to pursue a better future for their families. It is soft and sweet one moment, difficult and tense the next, but always subtle and sensitive. Its significance is found in its simplicity – while our heart strings are being tugged, our eyes are also being opened.

When Rosario (Kate del Castillo) stares up at the moon, the longing to be with her son is matched only in magnitude by the constant wondering if all of her sacrifice is worth the trouble. The contradictory nature of her existence is a heavy burden to bear. She demeans herself daily cleaning the house of a wealthy woman who treats her like a second class citizen and then has to clean another house and sew dresses nightly in order to put any money aside. As every hour of every day disappears without notice or meaning, years go by without seeing her son. She must work so hard in order to provide him with the possibility of a brighter future and this sacrifice is truly great. For as she slaves away the days, sure to always be on the lookout for the Immigration and Naturalization Service, her son is growing up without her. She has foregone the potential of her own happiness and cut herself off from the one remaining source of joy in her life. The decision she made years ago to cross the border has now drawn another line between mother and son that she knows may one day be too thick to be erased.

When Carlito stares up at the moon, the longing to be with his mother is matched only in magnitude by the bewilderment derived from feeling abandoned. He cannot reconcile his mother's love still felt in his heart and the reality of their situation. Four years after she left, his faith is finally faltering. While Rosario's daily renunciation is a testament to conviction and hope, Carlito's mission to make his way from Mexico to L.A. gives the film a heartbreaking tenderness while still tersely telling the truth of his tale. A boy willing to go to such great lengths just to be with his mother may sound saccharine in nature but there is nothing sweet about a nine-year old hitchhiking in Tucson, working wherever he can to pay for bus fare or nearly being sold into child prostitution. Ligiah Villalobos's lean screenplay never loses sight of the prize long enough to find itself off course but it is also never afraid to talk about the reality illegal immigrants must face on the streets of a supposedly great country. The dichotomy between sappy and serious is what makes UNDER THE SAME MOON so effective. While we want with great desperation to see mother and son reunite, we are also exposed to the reality imposed by our own ignorance upon such innocent hopefuls.

Once upon a time, America used to be the land of the free. People the world over would immigrate in pursuit of the elusive American dream. Things are very different now. Now there is the threat of terrorism, economic unrest and generally widespread panic and fear. To be foreign is to be frightening. All of our misconceptions dehumanize those involved and in a backwards fashion, somehow glamorize the experience. UNDER THE SAME MOON is a fine, refreshing film that gives a voice to those who are so seldom heard in a fashion that will allow it be heard by many. And for all the tears and warmth it brings to the viewer, perhaps its crowning achievement is that all who see it will inevitably find themselves staring up at the night sky shortly afterward, realizing that we all live under that very same moon no matter how many lines are drawn between us.
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9/10
'The Straight Story,' Mexican-Style
ccthemovieman-119 July 2008
This certainly lived up to expectations of being "a nice movie," an involving story about a young Mexican boy who sneaks into the United States to try to find his mother in Los Angeles. She had been in L.A. for four years and, frankly, I forget why. They don't dwell on that, but there must have been a good reason since she loves the kid and vice-versa. Each Sunday morning at 10, she calls him from the same spot. That's a key to the story.

When the woman's mother dies, "Carlito's" grandmother who had been looking after the young boy, the kid decides his options aren't good at that point and he needs to take a big chance to see if he can find his way to Los Angeles. Yes, you have to suspend your beliefs here a bit, as the odds on a kid actually being able to do that - all with no money! - are astronomical, but it's fun to watch him on his journey and how he makes do with what little he has. Some of the friendships he makes are truly touching and in a way, the best part of the film.

While writing this, it makes me flashback to the film "The Straight Story" when an old man on a tractor drives 300 miles across Iowa to see his long-lost brother. He is befriended by many people along the way, some who go to extraordinary lengths to help a stranger. That's the case here, too.

We also get a good profile of the mother, her best friend and a wonderful man she meets during this story, which takes place in one week. Each "chapter" of the film is broken down into days. Yes, the film is slightly preachy concerning immigration but the story is so good that one forgets about the political aspect, no matter side one is on.

This is a pretty solidly-made film, from directing to acting to the visuals but it's the story that will hook you in early on and you aren't able to let go until the end. The last half hour will keep you on the edge of your seat, wondering exactly things how will turn out. That's good, because it means the movie is entertaining. Definitely recommended.
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8/10
Fantastic! Definitely Worth Seeing!
OxyEskimo11 March 2008
I just saw this movie through the Los Angeles KCET Movies Series and it was absolutely fantastic! While the movie does contain a subtle political message, it is not meant to sway the audience in the illegal immigration debate. The story carries extraordinarily well with a subject as touchy as illegal immigration and cannot exist without it. Utilizing a theme of abandonment, the movie explores what it means to truly care for and cherish a loved one. With brilliant acting (Adrian Alonso is incredible!), fantastic direction, and a terrific screenplay, the movie is a wonderful, heartfelt journey that brings laughter, sadness, and a sincere sense of happiness into an enjoyable, movie-going experience.
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10/10
don't let the politics keep you away from this beautiful film
pauliebleeker5 April 2008
Do not let the idea of illegal immigration keep you from this film. If you are strongly against illegal immigration, I still recommend watching the film. Overall, it was done extremely well. So even if you are against the characters crossing the border illegally, the movie still won't disappoint. It's extremely touching and the main story is just a son trying to get back to his mother, but faces many obstacles (the border, money issues, untrustworthy people) on the way. It's a lot better than a lot of the American movies that have been coming out weekly. However many people have complained about the reality of such events and the protocol at the Mexico-US border checkpoint, my only advice is to remember that it is a FILM! it never said it was a documentary, so aside from the several "unrealistic" events, the film is lovely and i do recommend it for everyone. if you want to see the more realistic ongoings, please watch Wetback, a documentary on undocumented immigrants from their homeland and crossing to America.
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9/10
Sensitive, Well-Acted Film
kjpwench15 October 2007
I just saw this film at the Woodstock Film Festival and it was one of the highlights for me. I went in having no idea what to expect and was more than pleasantly surprised. There is not a note of false dialog, it's heartfelt, but not overwrought. It tells a story of a mother trying to support her son and mother in Mexico from LA. When the Grandmother suddenly dies, the 9 year old boy crosses the border to find his mother. From this description it might not sound like much, but seek it out, it's well worth it. All around the acting is wonderful, particularly the young boy Carlitos, played by Adrian Alonso. America Ferrara has a very brief role in this film, don't just see it for her.
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10/10
Excellent, touching, just incredible performances.
txaudience27 March 2008
I love this movie, and I'm sure anyone who is a mother,a father, a son, a daughter, would love this movie. The dialogue just feels so real, sincere because this story is just like the story of many people around the world. Yes, it is about Mexican immigrants, but you don't have to be Mexican nor even an immigrant to feel a connection with the characters. Many people have to move from their origin country to another country for many reasons, work, school, health, and sometimes they leave behind their loved ones. The movie is about love, family and dreams. If you decide to go and see it at the theater be prepared to laugh, and to cry oh yeah you will cry a lot. When I went to see it I cried, many people cried I was surprised to see that even children cried because they got so emotional with this film. I highly recommend this film.
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8/10
A Timely Topic, An Uplifting Film
gradyharp23 June 2008
Sensitive director Patricia Riggen has, in LA MISMA LUNA (UNDER THE SAME MOON), succeeded in creating a story about the travails of the illegal immigrants from Mexico that serves as a reminder to all of us that one of the reasons for the obsession to take the risks of crossing the border is an attempt to find a better life. While this story concept is by no means a novel one, writer Ligiah Villalobos has provided a script that avoids taking sides, but instead concentrates on creating wholly believable characters caught in the web of immigration - from both sides of the wall. This little film from Mexico is, above all, a film about love, about courage and about resilience and is portrayed by a very fine cast in every role.

Rosario (Kate del Castillo) is a single mother who crossed the border four years earlier in order to support her young son Carlitos (a superb young actor, Adrian Alonso) and her ailing mother by working double jobs as a housekeeper in Los Angeles. She keeps in touch with Carlitos with weekly phone calls and sends him gifts as well as money and love. When Rosario's mother dies, Carlitos takes life into his own hands and plans to cross the border with a little help from his experience with a wise old lady Coyota (Carmen Salinas) who aids immigrants. With his savings in his backpack and his heart aimed toward Los Angeles he sets out on his journey and is thwarted at every turn. He is picked up by two Hispanic students from the US (America Ferrara and Jesse Garcia) whose attempt to transport Carlitos is halted at the border - with the little Carlitos hidden under the seat of the now towed away car. Carlos escapes from the car in El Paso, meets up with some illegal workers who are arrested, leaving the hidden Carlitos with a reluctant companion Enrique (Eugenio Derbez) who is able to aid Carlitos (reluctantly!) to escape to Los Angeles. Through many 'jobs' and untoward situations Carlitos finally finds his way to the spot where he hopes he will meet his mother.

The rhythms of the cinematography, the sets, the flavors of both sides of the border, and the music that accompanies the film all contribute to making this story real and believable - and VERY touching. While Kate del Castillo is the major star of the film, it is the performance by Adrian Alonso that remains in the mind long after the credits are shown. Some viewers may find this film a bit too 'novella-like', but the magic that Patricia Riggen pulls from her large cast and verismo directing style will touch the hearts of most everyone. A fine little reminder of the other aspects of the Immigration topic! Grady Harp
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10/10
Excellent Movie
travelintom3 April 2008
I just saw it. This is one of the best movies that I have ever, ever seen. It goes to my top five list. Regardless of your view on immigration issues, this is a wonderful and so very human story. I am anxious to finish writing this so I can rush back to research the cast, the locations and the even the music.

The casting was perfect, the kid simply amazing. I hadn't seen Kate del Castillo before and will now look for more of her films. Maria Rojo had a minor role, I hadn't seen anything with her since Danzon and I still have a fan-crush. I knew of Derbez only as a comic before and was impressed with his dramatic performance. It pleased me that America Ferrara agreed to an appearance in a small role. I hope to see more of Maya Zapata too, what a doll.

Go see it now so you can recommend it to everyone you know, as I have. It makes me want to study Spanish harder just to get more of this film. And, yeah, I cried too.
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9/10
A sentimental odyssey
aharmas6 April 2008
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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7/10
Blooming with surface emotions and a tough contemporary theme with roots...
secondtake16 December 2012
Under the Same Moon (2007)

This story is one that will feel too close to home to many viewers--immigrants of all kinds, and parents who have ever been separated from their kids. The emotional stakes get piled so high you know that it can't end in disaster (the audience would be angry), so you kind of wait to see how the inevitable gets worked out.

What holds it completely together is the stellar acting of the lead boy, played by Adrian Alonso, with great support from his pretty but a bit restrained mother, played by Kate del Castillo. You can't help but feel for them, and the many hardships they encounter will move you right along with the events.

Which is the only conspicuous problem with the movie--the hardships are endless and brutal and almost comically classic. I'm sure they're all true enough, and I'm sure there are even individuals who face all these things in one lifetime. But it all happens in a week as the days tick off one by one to the critical weekly phone call. It's too much, really, no matter how you cut it--unless you think of it as a kind of modern Grimm fairy tale. In those, terrible things happen to kids and yet there is a dramatic outcome you take in stride. The fact this is kind of knowingly over the top happens when our two leads come within feet of each other (in the sprawling city of Los Angeles) and don't know it. Could be, but it doesn't help any sense of realism.

And yet it is filmed with an attention to small details, to making people reasonable (bad and good people both) and believable. That's eventually all backdrop to the tale, complete with wicked relatives, a knight in shining armor, and a couple of scofflaws who come to the rescue just in time.

It'll make you cry, and you might get mad at being so manipulated. But I think it's worth it.
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8/10
"A terrific movie about hope, love, survival..."
alvinvigil4 April 2008
A hit at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, first time director Patricia Riggen's Under The Same Moon or La Misma Luna (in Spanish) is that rare film that's about real people dealing with life's issues that resonate in today's hectic and cruel world. The drama centers on a little Mexican boy, Carlitos (Adrian Alonso), who lives with his ailing guelita (grandmother) in Mexico; when she suddenly dies in her sleep, he sets off to Los Angeles to be reunited with his mother, who's been working as a maid for rich folks. His plan to make the journey across the US/Mexico border doesn't pan out as easily as he had planned, running into stumbling blocks that involve street thugs, migrant workers, a heroin addict, near kidnapping and the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service).

Under The Same moon is a fantastic little Mexican-American film that subtlety transcends the hot topic of illegal immigration. But it's the story of Carlitos and his mother Rosario (Kate del Castillo) that makes this film a definite must see. Child actor Adrian Alonso stands out and basically carries the film, as he gives such a compelling and truthful performance; it's one of those young performances of recent years that will be remembered. Kate del Castillo, as well, exudes that motherly instinct in her tired, stressed-out expressions with such sadness, one can only feel for her. Eugenio Derbez adds some comic flair as the stranger that ends up helping Carlitos to find his mother. At first, he wants nothing to do with him as he, too, is in the states illegally, but then becomes a father figure, realizing the chiquito needs all the help he can get. Ugly Betty's America Ferrera, in a brief role, is good as one who smuggles Mexicans into the U.S. in order to pay for her college tuition. No matter what you think about illegal immigration, Under The Same Moon is a terrific movie about hope, love, survival and the yearning for family, no matter what the consequences. It also pulls at your heartstrings. It's a powerful little film that will move you and perhaps, bring you to tears.

Note: Under The Same Moon will most likely be playing in major Metropolitan cities, so if you can find it, I highly recommend this movie.
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4/10
A heart-felt attempt at making a touching movie.
sakana12729 February 2012
While at first glance, Under The Same Moon can come off as an attempt to portray the harsh realities faced by would-be immigrants from Mexico, the truth however is quite different. This movie is about a boy named Carlitos, who's mother has left to America to try and find a better life for them both. Missing his mother, and despairing that she will never be able to take him to America too, he attempts the cross the border by his own means. The story follows his trials and tribulations as he meets various other immigrants along the way, and uses hard work and his childish charm to finally be reunited with his mother. There were touching moments, but they were few and far between. This was caused mainly by the flat, one-dimensional nature of almost all the characters. Combined with the fact that the story was implausible and that the plot progression could only barely capture the attention of the audience, this movie was overall rather disappointing. Clearly a heartfelt attempt was made to make this movie touching and meaningful, but unfortunately, it failed at that, with its poor premise, and flat characters. I'd give it a 4 out of 10.
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10/10
Heartfelt, Real, Well Acted, Beyond Political
svoone19 May 2008
I went to a local independent film theater not knowing what to except to see my first independent film. I thought is was worth a try and it was! This movie made me laugh, cry, think, get angry, and remember that love is the strongest force in the world. Yes, there is underlining message here, about our borders, and the hardships illegals face, but the movie is more than that. It is well directed, logical, sensitive, real, very well acted film. There is a small part with "Ugly Betty's" America Ferrara in it, but don't see the movie for just the brief parts with America Ferrara in them. The main characters Rosaro, and her son Carlitos grab your heart and you hang on to every word. There is a character named Enrique that you first think what has he got to do with anything but before long you realize he is so important to the overall feel of the film and reminds us that we are all tied to each other in some way. This is the first movie I saw in a long time that I could not guess what was going to happen next. It was always the unexpected. From the description of the movie it might not sound like something that will give you that much emotion and entertainment,but "Under the Moon" will. This movie is well worth the time to see it and the price of the ticket.
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Sweet and Teary
jdesando18 April 2008
"No I would not give you false hope On this strange and mournful day But the mother and child reunion Is only a motion away." Paul Simon (1972)

Having just reviewed Nim's Island, where an 11 year-old girl lives with dad without mom, I now am reviewing Under the Same Moon, where 9-year-old Carlitos (Adrian Alonso) lives in Mexico without his mother, Rosario (Kate del Castillo), I began thinking about all the comedy/dramas featuring kids without parents (another, 21, is about a widowed professor with 2 motherless kids) I have seen recently. Such is our time of dislocation and divorce.

Under the Same Moon is a sweet tale of Mexican challenges with immigration laws, border crossings, and exploitation. Its strength is the soft way it treats these divisive topics as it concentrates on the love of a mother and child, transcending all other issues, dedicated to a reunion at all costs. Along the way, the attractive Rosario must decide if she will marry to facilitate US citizenship or wait for love. The possibility of both is dangled, part of the ongoing optimism of a film that could be tragic in every respect.

Although there is no new ground here, norteno band Los Tigres del Norte provides light lyrics and mariachi-like music just at the right heavy-handed moment. That is to say, this plot is rife with clichés and fulfilled dramatic expectations—abuse on one side, kindness on the other—but plays to a universally accepted tenderness about the bond between a mother and child and the dangers border-crossing aliens experience every day. It may be the realistic performances that moved me or the liberal leaning side of me that likes a mother-and-child reunion—I do know I was moved, and that's what good film-making does.
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7/10
Don't Cross
ferguson-611 April 2008
Greetings again from the darkness. Charming, touching story of a very lively 9 yr old Mexican boy who goes on an interesting road trip in search of his mother who sneaked across the border four years earlier with the dream of providing a better life for her son.

Kate del Castillo is terrific as Rosario, the boy's mother. Hard working and determined to bring her boy to the U.S., she fights the constant emotional battle of whether they might both be better off together. Wide-eyed Adrian Alonso plays Carlitos, the courageous and equally determined little man. Many will remember Alonso from "The Legend of Zorro". He brings much more depth to this role and displays a certain quality that just forces us to pull for him.

As good as those two performances are, they aren't the film's best. That belongs to Eugenio Derbey as Enrique, the reluctant hero. He is just tremendous as we see Carlitos soften up his crusty exterior and even teach him a few lessons along the way. Just a fun performance to watch.

Director Patricia Riggen kind of skirts the immigration issue with a weak border crossing featuring a brief performance from America Ferrera. This part just never felt real. Still, that doesn't reduce the entertainment value of this charming story ... and neither does the fact that we know very early on how the story will end. As with any road trip, the fun part is in the travel.
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7/10
A must see
Pyro_Pizza8 December 2020
Everyone should watch this film at least once. It is very eye opening. It is also something the whole family will enjoy as it has something for everyone. Theres some romance, some comedy, and some action all wrapped under a heart felt story that showcases the struggles immigrants face.
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10/10
I don't know how i missed this movie
gmontoya-8044924 July 2020
Well like i said this movie was very good. Don't let those technical reviews trying to break down every sense of the movie stray you away. This was a good movie and don't know how i ever missed this one. Eugenio Derbez movies are always pretty good. Like his acting.
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Summary
tjc102029 February 2012
The movie Under the Same Moon was a great movie to watch. I felt like it really helped me understand the struggles that immigrants have to go through everyday; legal and illegal.

Rosario, one of the main characters in the story, is a mother who came across the border illegally, to try and better her life and make enough money to bring her only son across too. This was her one and only goal and she worked many jobs to try and achieve that dream. However, despite all the jobs she worked, she never seemed to make enough money to bring her son, Carlitos, across the border. She would work day in and day out, waking up at the early hours of the morning, and still receive little pay. This made me think that not all immigrants are in the country to wreak the benefits of living here and not having to pay taxes or what not. Many of them are here to live the "American Dream" and this was just another story to prove it.

Carlitos, a young boy who lives with his grandmother in Tijuana, Mexico is a very good boy who just wants to see his mother again. She has been away for 4 years and he talks to her every Sunday. However, when his ill grandmother passes away, he decides to do the impossible and find a way across the border to get to his only family left, his mother. He goes through an enormous adventure, meeting all different people along the way. Another illegal immigrant, Enrique, becomes his journey friend. Enrique, at first, does not like Carlitos and doesn't want to have to babysit him the whole time. However, Carlitos brings out the best in Enrique and eventually they both become good friends. Enrique helps Carlitos get to Los Angeles and eventually find his mom.

I give this movie a 7 out of 10. I felt like it was a good movie to explain the problems of illegal immigration but I don't think it deserved a higher score because it was just another normal immigration movie. It fit nice with the section we were doing on immigration and despite the criticism I give it, I still enjoyed the movie.
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6/10
Too Much Story For The Actors
fili_17181429 April 2008
I enjoyed the story, it is a really original idea, and there were a lot of good scenes, I think the direction was good too (not excellent but good) but it was the actuation what let me down, down, so down on this movie.

The kid is so annoying and I hated his false voice tone. Kate Del Castillo was so ridiculous, I couldn't believe her anything, Derbez has that comic aura that it is not possible to believe a drama scene of his. And worst of all, CARMEN SALINAS, WHY? WHY? WHY LORD???? That woman is a living cliché.

So, watch it if you don't have a lot to see, with low expectedness, cause you're not going to get more than that.
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So Sad
cms6031 March 2008
I'm sick of going into the movies and having some one push their ideas and beliefs on me, sad little story of poor little boy, Bad Americans , It's all our fault, for everything that is wrong with Mexico. You can see the Mexican government all over this movie, pushing their propaganda, Take it America, feel sorry for our people, even though we could care less about our own, we want you to care, This movie is a perfect set up, to make you feel so bad about America. When truth be told it's a little of both. It makes me curious that a movie about this would come out now. someone or something has an agenda, its plain to see. The acting was good, plenty of drama, a tear jerker, but again, propaganda.
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6/10
Manipulation vs. honesty
StevePulaski29 May 2013
Carlitos (Adrián Alonso) is nine years old and filled to the brim with spunk and cuteness. He is the ideal protagonist in a movie about immigration issues in America. His mother is Rosario (Kate del Castillo), an illegal immigrant working in Los Angeles while her son is stuck in Mexico. Every Sunday, religiously, she will call him from the same phone booth to send well wishes and sprinklings of optimism his way. Carlitos lives with his grandmother, who abruptly dies, sending the little tyke on a mission to find his mother in the city of Los Angeles. He evades border patrol, traffickers, and seedy neighborhoods all in the pursuit of love and affection.

Under the Same Moon (La misma luna) is an independent movie dealing with a huge social-issue the way a Hollywood movie would. It milks all the sentiment and tears this story can produce in record time. It's the kind of easily-digestible American audiences can stomach while at the same time not feeling so guilty or too depressed.

The issue of immigration and the fact that a countless number of families have been separated because of it is one that can be taken under the wing of cinema, if approached pragmatically and cautiously. Under the Same Moon goes for the easy-way-out, neglecting to humanize the issue but humanize a certain far-fetched, nearly unbelievable storyline, portraying many of the Mexican characters as punching bags and the whites as stuffy cads who do not respect anyone not in their social class. There's truth to both of those archetypes, but should a film attempting to look at the issue of immigration and its effects on people be settling for such perfunctory features? It's a blessing to say that Adrián Alonso is an audacious little lead for a film like this. I can forgive his placement more as an emotional cause-and-effect case for the fact that he handles heavy material extremely well. His illumination on screen carries the entire film in terms of the kind of vibe it sets off. In the later scenes, when he meets a certain figure who has been lacking in his life (I'm sure you can figure out who it is) is when a character begins to emerge. It's a character that isn't as naive or as clueless as we may've believed. It's a character with maybe a little less innocence than we previously thought.

The take-away information from Under the Same Moon is the fact that kids of illegal parents have experienced a whirlwind of trouble, hardships, and disappointment in the first ten years of their life than privileged youths will likely experience in thirty. This is a gruelingly honest point that the film tries to make. I'm a fan of the message but not so much the delivery. I tire of a story that paints one side as blameless victims and the other as the enablers or the bystanders that refuse to step in even during the gloomiest times. It's this kind of painting in not just cinema but politics in general that is detrimental to the credibility of an issue. We must look at both sides of the argument. In this case, perhaps each party is a bit too oversimplified.

Movies like Under the Same Moon provide audiences with a pleasant diversion and competent family entertainment. This is not a story that a strong political thesis can be extracted from. The film offers solid performances, a pleasant culture shock, a conservatively-paced story, and characters we at least want to see turn out well in some way or another. The film is just all too "nice" about everything and never really seems to up the courage and dive into deeper reasons for deeper problems. The talking points you're left with are ones usually taken in-context to newspaper articles or present issues in the field of the topic; not from the actual film.

Starring: Adrián Alonso, Kate del Castillo, and Eugenio Derbez. Directed by: Patricia Riggen.
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Great Cast, Great Lesson.
alex-nawoichik28 March 2011
The casting of this film is amazing. Hats off to the entire cast, especially Adrian Alonso, for exhibiting the ability to deal with the tough, trying situations that are dealt with throughout this film. They act these situations out in a way that draws the viewers in and makes them sympathize with the characters. Also, they create suspense, like in the scene where Carlitos is hiding beneath the seat in the car while attempting to cross the border. Watching Carlito's journey gives a sense of hope to everyone, that if you persist and have determination, you can accomplish anything. Despite all of the hardships that Carlos goes through, he keeps a positive attitude, and that is the most important thing you can learn from this film. Although, I'm sure that is not the message that the director wanted to tell. Clearly, the purpose of this movie is to show how immigration can tear up a family, but also, how it is necessary in some people's lives because their nation does not offer them enough opportunities.
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8/10
Very well written and acted
otterprods12 February 2010
Unfortunately, it seems that many people are too blinded by their own political sympathies on either side of the fence to appreciate this movies for what it really was... A terrifically acted and brilliantly written screenplay. It's about familial love that overcomes mankind's boundaries (literally). True, the same story could have been (and has been) told in a more politically correct way, by having the families separated unjustly by Nazi or other intolerance. However, opening the window into this seldom explored and controversial world of illegal immigration gave it a fresh spin that makes it seem more relevant to the world we live in today. The story is told in a fresh and less-than-predictable way. My only wish is that I was fluent in Spanish so that I could have appreciated the film as it was meant to be seen.
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6/10
A major road movie. The illegal Mexicans drama through the story of a nine year old
dg-op7 February 2010
Carlitos (very good acting by Adrián Alonso) has lost his mother (Kate del Castillo). She's not dead, no. She left him when he was five to work as an illegal housekeeper in Los Angeles. Though everyday she deals with major problems (two jobs, one of them with a bad employer, running away from the "migra") she has managed to have a decent living in order to send money to her impoverished family back in Mexico. However, when his grandmother dies, Carlitos decides to cross the US/Mexican border with the help of two young Chicanos (America Ferrara and Jesse García), since doña Carmen, la coyote (Carmen Salinas), refuses to help him, due to a promise made to Rosario, Carlito's mother, even though she handles an illegal crossing business. However, things for him will get complicated right from the beginning, starting a dangerous, but beautiful and rich travel from his impoverished town in Mexico to the modern L.A., meeting a lot of people that, somehow, try to help him on his way to his mother, knowing different stories and cultures, finding his past in order to have a better future.

This is not just a simple movie. It tries to tell a simple story, but is in this simple story that lies a major problem: the illegal immigration in the U.S. Beautifully directed by Patricia Riggen and with a great script by Ligiah Villalobos, the film is a touching,amazing and unknown type of road movie, and a totally worth watching cinematographic experience. It's not perfect, being a little "too Mexican" (it's a little kind of a Mexican telenovela), but it is definitely a major film: a must-see for all Latin American audiences
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4/10
Under the Same Moon
ProjectAnomaly7 May 2021
It takes the mom way to long to question if persecution in the US is worth it (it's absolutely not, this country is ass). Also, one of the worst endings in cinema history.
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