There are not many human relationships that are as complex and written about as the mother-son relationship. This touching Patricia Riggen (documentary – Family Portrait) film is different than most as the mother and son are never together in the film. However, despite their distance the connection between mother and son is incredibly strong. Besides the mother-son issue this film is one of the strongest arguments for ironing out the immigration problems along the U.S. border that I have ever seen.
Rosario (Kate del Castillo – Julia) has made the huge sacrifice of leaving her son in Mexico to illegally come to Los Angeles to work in order to send him money. She wants a better life for her nine-year-old son Carlitos (Adrian Alonso – The Legend of Zorro), so she works as a maid in Los Angeles and leaves Carlitos with her mother in Mexico. The only contact she has had with her son is the once-a-week phonecalls she makes every Sunday at 10 a.m. sharp.
Shortly after his birthday, Carlitos awakens one morning to find his grandmother has died in her sleep. Fearing that he will be forced to live with a relative that he doesn't like, Carlitos packs his bag and heads off to try to find his mother in Los Angeles. This is going to prove tricky for many reasons as he is nine, cannot legally enter the United States, and does not know his mother's address – only knows a description of the corner from which his mother phones him every week.
Illegal Mexican immigration into the United States is quite a hot topic presently. This film transcends that issue to make us realize that the only reason a mother would leave her son is for love. Love is the central theme of the film. We begin to question how we can love and take care of a loved one. We understand that it not only affects the child, but that it is a huge sacrifice for the mother. All this and never once during the film did I feel that my emotions were being manipulated. It had a sense of honesty and reality about it.
The reason to see the film is to witness the love mother and son have for each other despite their four year separation. There is a subtle political message to the film, but it certainly is secondary to the love for family and the lengths we will go facet of the story. We see the many different difficult situations illegal immigrants can be faced with. It is a stress-filled and unfulfilling existence when it does not have to be.
Young actor Adrian Alonso is a wonder! He gives an honest and mature performance as the determined young boy. You will find yourself laughing and crying during this film. It is powerful film and despite its focus on Mexican immigration issues has plenty of universal themes that will allow any viewer to relate to it. I would highly recommend this film to anyone.
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