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A Better Life

A man who has nothing can still lose it all.

Veteran Mexican actor Demian Bichir plays Carlos, an illegal immigrant who works for a landscaping firm in Los Angeles. His wife long ago abandoned him to raise their son, Luis (Joaquín Cosio), by himself. Carlos’ boss offers to sell him his truck with all its gardening equipment to start his own business. Two problems: his undocumented status, and his lack of funds to buy the truck. Hopes get cruelly raised, then dashed when his sister loans Carlos the money for the truck only for it to disappear the very next day. His search for the thief, with teenaged Luis a reluctant companion, is an odyssey through the megalopolis of L.A. that examines many aspects of the human condition, law enforcement, street predators, recklessness and the meaning of family. The immigrant father and Americanized son are very different from one another and their different upbringings only partly account for this. Luis is American enough to see violence as the easy remedy; Carlos long ago learned the pitfalls of ‘easy.’ As the search for the thief and then the truck gets them deeper into trouble, the two wind up seeing each other’s point of view. But such understanding may come too late to save the family. Fine and seldom seen L.A. locations, peerless cinematography by Spanish lensman Javier Aguirresarobe, a perceptive production design by Missy Stewart and an unobtrusive, Latin-flavored score from Alexandre Desplat let the moods and environment of the movie seep into a viewer’s consciousness. Nothing here is overt; everything, the enigmas and contradictions of life, is subtle and simply portrayed. By keeping things simple and understated, Weitz and screenwriter Eric Eason (working from a Roger L. Simon story) have crafted a little gem where humanity is observed with compassion, not condescension. – Kirk Honeycutt, Hollywood Reporter Official Trailer
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Directed by: 
Chris Weitz
Running Time: 
Demián Bichir, Joaquín Cosio, Nancy Lenehan, Tim Griffin
Screenplay by: 
Eric Eason, Roger L. Simon

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