Monday, January 23, 2012


A BETTER LIFE is a great little indie film about how difficult life is for immigrants in Los Angeles. Many of us who spend time in Los Angeles are surrounded by people like the characters in this story, the people who mow the lawns, wash the dishes, and clean our homes, but we never really see how they lead their lives. I spent my first 3 years in Los Angeles living near USC amongst people like this but never really got to know any of them.

Yet their story is universal, as it was when my grandparents moved to this country almost 100 years ago. They came here looking for one thing, a better life for their children. I can't imagine how difficult it is to give up everything you have and know to go to a strange country where you don't even speak the language. But that's what my grandparents did. As Polish (and Irish) immigrants, they were the bottom caste at the time that they moved here. Since then, whatever the latest round of immigration brings has always found its way to the bottom. In Los Angeles, that would be the Mexican immigrants.

The main characters in the film are very good. If there's any criticism, it's that the film is a little slow and simple, almost predictable, as they encounter all of the problems one would expect for illegal immigrants. The saving grace is the acting; the performances are extraordinary, and could quite possibly create Oscar nominations.

I highly recommend this film, especially to Angelinos.

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