Alert
Close

Watch the NASCAR race on Sunday at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Join the Drive to End Hunger!

Highlights

Open

FALL 2014 NATIONAL EVENT

Come to San Diego!

Sept. 4 - 6

Technology and Innovation
AARP-iPad-ePub-app

AARP TV

Watch episodes of AARP Live and other AARP broadcasts.

Most Popular

Viewed

A Better Life

Academy Award-nominated Mexican actor Demián Bichir plays the role of an undocumented father

Generational conflicts are nothing new. Yet director Chris Weitz’s film refuses to wallow in sentimentality or cliché. Instead, he paints a sobering portrait of one divided family that makes for a short course on the immigration debate. Galindo has been in the United States for years, but because he snuck into the country, he is caught in a jurisdictional shadow world. He is honest, dedicated, industrious — and illegal. But Galindo’s son was born here, making him a U.S. citizen. So the boy, with no ties to his father’s homeland, cannot fathom his dad’s up-by-the-bootstraps immigrant mentality.

How all this works out onscreen is what makes the film something special. In a heartbreaking scene, he explains to Luis the fatherly love that, for years before he bought the vehicle, drove him to get up every morning and stand on street corners hoping for a low-wage work as a day laborer. If he’s sent back to “the other side,” what will happen to his child?

By the end of A Better Life, that question is resolved, but it’s not a resolution that guarantees closure. And that, after all, may be the film’s greatest success. By giving a human face to a contentious dialogue, it forces us to ask ourselves questions about compassion and empathy for society’s underdogs. Is Carlos Galindo unworthy of our respect? Or is he the kind of person whose hard work makes the United States stronger? It’s not hard to figure out what side of the issue this haunting and beautiful film comes down on.

You may also like: More movie reviews.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Movies for Grownups Radio

Download weekly podcasts of celebrity interviews, entertainment news and more. Listen


Movies for Grownups Awards

AARP honors the films and filmmakers who make the movies we want to see. Read

300_line

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Cirque Du Soleil

Members save up to 20% on live Cirque du Soleil shows with their AARP membership card.

Regal Cinemas movie theater

Members pay $8 for Regal ePremiere tickets purchased online. Conditions apply.

Movies Unlimited

Members save 10% on purchases of DVDs & Blu-ray discs from Movies Unlimited.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.