Sunday, June 22, 2008

If Oliver Twist were a Mexican...

Carla and I watched a wonderful film last night. Under the Same Moon (La Misma Luna) tells the tale of nine year-old Carlito, who lives with his grandmother in a village in Mexico. Carlito's mother, Rosario, is an undocumented worker cleaning the homes of wealthy people in Los Angeles. Rosario, a single mom, is able to send $300.00 a month back home to Mexico. This enables Carlito to attend a good school and have a relatively comfortable life. But both mother and child ache for each other.

When his grandmother dies, Carlito takes it upon himself to go to his mother. He travels from Mexico to Los Angeles by way of El Paso and Tucson. Along the way he meets a variety of characters; from a creepy junkie to a helpful migrant worker to a traveling mariachi band. Carlito ends up in the begrudging care of a lout who has no use for a kid hanging around. Watching the friendship develop between these two, which is eventually put to the ultimate test, is one of the delights of the film.

Carlito's adventures in getting across the Southwestern U.S. are juxtaposed with Rosario's life as an illegal alien in Los Angeles. Her life is filled with indignities, but she is buoyed by friends, a kind man who hopes to earn her affection and, most of all, her dream of earning enough money to hire a lawyer that can help her get a green card and bring Carlito to America. She has no idea of the turn of events that have thrust her son out into the world.

The film is heartwarming and bittersweet, without becoming maudlin.

Adrian Alonso, the young actor who plays Carlito does an amazing job. The rest of the actors are also fantastic.

This movie has just come out on DVD. It is in Spanish, with English subtitles. Carla and I both highly recommend it and I guaranty that the ending will make you smile.


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