December 31, 2013.

This blog is now closed. After three years and 311 posts, I have decided to end this blog. I have enjoyed watching the films, reviewing them, and interacting with global readers.

If you are interested in contacting me, you can do so by commenting on any of the posts. The blog will remain live on the web.
Thank you to all the readers for your comments, ideas, and thoughts. They were helpful, stimulating, and enriching. This is Alene, signing off.

July 27, 2012

A Better Life (2011)

When it’s over, this is a sad story, but one that is not hopeless.  Carlos Galindo (Demian Bichir) is a gardener living in East Los Angeles, who struggles day to day to meet the bills while trying to keep his teenage son (Jose Julian) out of trouble.  A Better Life is the story of one man’s dream, representing the story of countless thousands who strive everyday to provide a better life for themselves and their families.  Like he did in About a Boy (2002), Director Chris Weitz brings out the most complex emotions in the most natural way.  The directing is subtle, but enormously effective as it pulls the viewer into Galindo’s life.  As I’m watching Galindo on screen, he doesn’t feel like a character in a film, but rather a person I know.  This is not only due to a keen sense of directing, but also to Bichir’s convincing performance, which carries the film from beginning to end.  I think this film will resonate greater with men, due to the themes about being a role model, being a provider, and the pressure of self worth in a world where people are defined by their possessions. 

My rating: 4 out of 5


  1. Really enjoyed this film. While I hate to admit it, this movie had me balling like a dejected school-girl. I could totally relate. I wanted so bad for the lead character to succeed, as he put his heart and soul into raising his only child alone. I was so engrossed it didn't even occur to me this could possibly be a fictional story. I'd rate this a 4 out of 5.

    1. It was a fictional story, but it mirrors real life. Stuff like that happens everyday to people who don't deserve it, to people who work hard and are honest. Sometimes, life just isn't fair, and as the viewer, I wanted life to be fair to Galindo, and I wanted him to get that better life that he worked so hard to attain. However, I can't forget that this film was also about immigration and the legal consequences of breaking the law. The constant pull of the law, the dream, the law, the dream made for some very effective emotional conflict.