Movie: A Better Life
What it’s up for: Actor in a Leading Role (Demian Bichir)

Everyone needs to see this movie. Movies should be used for more than just entertainment. They should help educate us about real things in the world. They should put a humanizing twist on abstract concepts. Margin Call did that in one way. So did The DescendantsA Better Life is a more obvious example of this. It humanizes the US-Mexico immigration issue, which I think is something that everyone needs a chance to understand. I know I didn’t (still don’t completely) but this movie gives the opportunity to CARE. And care is the beginning of all movements.

Demian Bichir plays Carlos Galindo, an illegal immigrant living and working in Los Angeles. His son, Luis, was born in the US and Carlos is trying to give Luis a better life through building his gardening business. All this while keeping under the radar of the police and trying to keep Luis out of the gangs.

This is an absolutely beautiful movie. It paints a wonderful portrait of the father-son relationship and how hard some people are willing to work to stay in America. It also just shows the GOODNESS that people can have. The cinematography was gorgeous and the writing was fantastic. There was also a ton of symbolism and foreshadowing. I wish this movie had been nominated for more awards.

Demian Bichir was phenomenal. I would put him right on par with George Clooney in The Descendants. He absolutely deserved the nomination. It’s a shame that he won’t win. His nomination reminds me of Jennifer Lawrence’s nomination for leading actress last year – a powerful performance that no one saw. I hope to see him in more movies and I hope this nomination gets this film more attention.

Sadly, he won’t win. (Unless the Academy decides to get political…which they’ve obviously done before, but with more high-profile films.)

(PS: I don’t know anything about the legal situation surrounding immigration and citizenship. For the sake of transparency, my take on the situation is that I don’t think illegal immigration is ok but I think it should be easier to enter the US legally and become a citizen.)