A R&J love story set in the aftermath of 9/11. It tries hard to be authentic but leaves the audience a little short. If haven't seen Raising Victor Vargas , you should watch that film instead, it's a similiar film without the 9/11 backdrop.
Lalo a young Mexican American high schooler with illegal parents is living in run down area of New York, he meets Stefanie a young Dominican girl and they fall in love. However Stefanie's father has rage issues and won't let her date anyone, and he'll beat anyones ass who tries to. Lalo's family struggles to pay rent while Stefanie's family is still reeling from the loss of their star daughter who had just got a job working at the World Trade Center.
The acting is not bad, the cinematography is not too bad, nor the editing but it just doesn't grab you like Raising Victor Vargas. Apart of the reason why is because the film doesn't know how to immerse the audience in the Point of View and emotions of young teens in love. It has these side stories that distract from the love birds like the father's rage about his daughter's death and the Lalo's father cleaning up 9/11 debris without proper gear.
These are important issues but these side characters get scenes to themselves and it sort of turns the film into an ensemble piece and dilutes from the love story. Also the two teens are not very original or distinguishable. In Raising Victor Vargas the main character had this really cocky bloated attitude which gave him some flavor. In this film it's just two teenagers who are a little timid about their emotions and although love is a compelling thing, audiences tend to wanna watch characters who are a little bit out of the ordinary.
This film is decent but otherwise too luke warm to distinguish itself from the greats.