A Better Life (2011) - Rotten Tomatoes

A Better Life (2011)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

From the director of About a Boy comes A Better Life - a touching, poignant, multi-generational story about a father's love and the lengths a parent will go to give his child the opportunities he never had. -- (C) Summitmore
Rating: PG-13 (for some violence, language and brief drug use.)
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Roger L. Simon, Eric Eason
In Theaters:
On DVD: Oct 18, 2011
Box Office: $1.8M
Summit Entertainment - Official Site


Demian Bichir
as Carlos Galindo
José Julián
as Luis Galindo
Joaquín Cosio
as Blasco Martinez
Nancy Lenehan
as Mrs. Donnelley
Tim Griffin
as Juvie Officer
Trampas Thompson
as School Security Offi...
Valorie Hubbard
as School Secretary
Richard Cabral
as Marcelo Valdez
Luis A. Colocio
as Ruthie's Uncle
Ray Moreno
as Ruthie's Uncle
Yelyna de Leon
as Ruthie's Mother
Taide Acosta
as Young Woman
Joe Renteria
as Bearded Man
Magi Avila
as Shot Girl
Henry Ambriz
as Mexican Singer
Harry Ambriz
as Mexican Singer
Miguel Alejandro Gax...
as Voz de Mando Singer
Jorge Gaxiola
as Voz de Mando Singer
Charles Currier
as Auto Mart Security G...
Marlon Correa
as Prison Guard
Adrian Mojica
as Police Officer
Todd Felix
as Gabe Wettenal
Jason Medwin
as ICE Officer
Tom Schanley
as ICE Officer
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for A Better Life

Critic Reviews for A Better Life

All Critics (105) | Top Critics (35)

The film's beautiful simplicity is carried massively on the work of Demián Bichir, instantly and surely one of the best performances seen in 2011.

Full Review… | September 14, 2014

Well-acted, but quite over-hyped -- a melodramatic Mexican-American version of "Bicycle Thieves."

Full Review… | January 4, 2013
Tribune News Service

A Better Life is a half-step removed from the Hallmark Hall of Fame.

Full Review… | August 26, 2012

A Better Life's sense of place and eye for detail are strong, but the too-smooth style and rushed dramatics are at odds with the hardscrabble existence on display.

Full Review… | August 17, 2012
Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema

[A] gentle, honest, heartfelt film, but [it] does not have much to offer beyond an earnest respect for a segment of American society that is too often derided...

Full Review… | February 22, 2012
Flick Filosopher

The silver lining is an excellent lead performance from Bichir.

Full Review… | January 26, 2012
Cinema Writer

Audience Reviews for A Better Life

Looks at a very real problem with an excellent script that keeps your interest, plays with your emotions, and has some very real insights into a problem incomprehensible to the average American. Shows a son's developing pride for a father who's strength was hidden, even from his son. Academy Award Best Actor nominee Demián Bichir for the part of the father....A very touching film.

Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer

Every father wants more for his son

Genuinely moving

This subtle dramatic film is extremely powerful and moving. The sincere realistic tone the movie carries allows us to really understand the difficulties the characters go through and cheer for them to have a better life.

Carlos Galindo (Bichir) is an immigrant gardener in Los Angeles who searches for a better life for himself and his son who faces the difficulties and dilemma of entering a gang. The movie realistically portrays the troubles of Mexican immigrants in the United States, but most importantly show a legit love story between father and son.

This movie is wonderfully composed. Weitz uses his subtle and realistic tone to bring out a depressing yet beautiful story. Not only is the story and the style in which the movie is done brilliant. This movie has some of the most powerful performances of the year. Both Bichir and Julian are extraordinary. They develop complex characters and true chemistry, that as you follow these characters steps you hope just the best for them. The movie is composed with emotional scenes that are tear jerkers. In all honesty I felt the Academy Award made a big mistake by not giving Bichir an award.

This movie is great, beautiful and real, don't miss it. Warning! viewers might be exposed to extreme sadness.

Carlos Galindo: " That's why I had you. For me. For a reason to live."

Pedro Holanda

Super Reviewer


Corny telenovela full of one dimensional characters. Next time try to make a better movie.

Tsubaki Sanjuro

Super Reviewer

A Better Life Quotes

– Submitted by Chris P (4 years ago)
– Submitted by Chris P (4 years ago)

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