A Better Life (2011)



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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) Summit
PG-13 (for some violence, language and brief drug use.)
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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
Carlos Linares
as Santiago
Trampas Thompson
as School Security Officer
Valorie Hubbard
as School Secretary
Robert Anthony Peters
as Truck Driver
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
Isidro Vallin
as Payaso
Magi Avila
as Shot Girl
Harry Ambriz
as Mexican Singer
Henry Ambriz
as Mexican Singer
Miguel Alejandro Gaxiola
as Voz de Mando Singer
Jorge Gaxiola
as Voz de Mando Singer
Charles Currier
as Auto Mart Security Guard
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
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Critic Reviews for A Better Life

All Critics (104) | Top Critics (37)

The didacticism takes the shine off Weitz's accomplishment, even if the film builds up enough empathy to generate slow-burning emotional impact.

Full Review… | July 26, 2011
Time Out
Top Critic

A Better Life has more to offer than good intentions: it's sincere and credible, which is more than I can say about an awful lot of movies. Yet something about it kept me at arm's length: I felt the filmmakers' presence instead of...

July 15, 2011
Top Critic

Bichir delivers a powerful, nuanced performance as a stoic but complex character who treats everyone -- even those who have wronged him -- with a dignity he rarely receives.

Full Review… | July 15, 2011
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

The people here seem real, their world is shaky at best, and the political tension that permeates everything in this film feels palpable.

Full Review… | July 15, 2011
Detroit News
Top Critic

Bichir redeems the secondhand plot and on-the-nose dialogue.

Full Review… | July 15, 2011
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

Personalizes the illegal immigrant experience and digs much deeper into what has become a national disgrace.

Full Review… | July 14, 2011
Toronto Star
Top Critic

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.
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
Pedro Holanda

Super Reviewer


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

Tsubaki Sanjuro
Tsubaki Sanjuro

Super Reviewer

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