A Better Life

2011

A Better Life

Critics Consensus

Powered by a terrific performance from Demián Bichir, A Better Life is an immigrant story told with simplicity and an ample amount of heart.

85%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 105

79%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 12,287
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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) Summit

Cast

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 Officer
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
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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News & Interviews for A Better Life

Critic Reviews for A Better Life

All Critics (105) | Top Critics (39) | Fresh (89) | Rotten (16)

  • It speaks well enough about the fate of immigrants everywhere, especially those who want to work hard but end up being exploited.

    Jul 29, 2011 | Rating: 3/5
  • Bichir carries it all with a measured performance of considerable emotion as the dad, clenched by so many years holding his breath, waiting for the knock at the door.

    Jul 28, 2011 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Cath Clarke

    Guardian
    Top Critic
  • Not as insightful as it could've been but something to chew on for those who like their social commentary a touch on the light and fluffy side.

    Jul 28, 2011 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • The didacticism takes the shine off Weitz's accomplishment, even if the film builds up enough empathy to generate slow-burning emotional impact.

    Jul 27, 2011 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • 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...

    Jul 15, 2011
  • 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.

    Jul 15, 2011 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for A Better Life

  • Jan 22, 2014
    Chris Weitz, stay the hell out of Mexico, you stereotypical, melodramatic and overtly sentimental imbécil!! 46/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • May 23, 2012
    I chose to watch it due to the Oscar nomination of the protagonist and indeed I saw a very powerful performance of this stoic and dignified Mexican immigrant in the USA trying to provide a better life for his son. However, outside this notable performance the film is both predictable and full of clichés and thus will quickly be forgotten.
    Nicolas K Super Reviewer
  • Mar 09, 2012
    A Better Life is a emotional journey through the lives of an illegal immigrant and his son. A Better Life is one of the greatest film 2011 has given us. This film has great performances from José Julián and especially Demian Bichir. You need to see this movie because of Demian Bichir. Demian Bichir, who was also in the 'Che' movies, gives arguably one of the best performances this year. In A Better Life, Bichir gets to shine in the leading role and he does exactly that. José Julián who has never acted in a mainstream movie before, gives a suprisingly excellent performance playing Bichir's son. Julián has more talent than almost any popular young actor you can name: Taylor Lautner, Justin Bieber, Ashton Kutcher and the list goes on. I could never know what the director Chris Weitz was going to do with this movie. In 2002 he made a terrific movie and that was About A Boy (Starring Hugh Grant, Nicholas Hoult). In 2009, however, he made Twilight Saga: New Moon (Starring Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner) which is one of the worst films i've ever seen. But luckily for us, he takes this story and he transforms it into an emotional journey for the audience. I also have to give credit to the shots throughout the film. Rarely do shots in a film actually bring out emotion in the viewer. This film really gets you to connect with the characters. If you don't connect with them (which some people apparently don't) then this film is no good. It most likely will get boring for those viewers. On the other hand, if you do connect with these two characters, you really get to feel what they are feeling. Chris Weitz takes you out of reality and even though they never say it in the movie or it is never even said, there is one question that's running through your mind; "What if that was my father and I?". If you don't have this question running through your head then you won't be able to feel bad for them. If you don't feel bad for them, it ruins the whole movie because that is the main thing Chris Weitz is trying to do with this movie. I definitely reccomend this film. Demian Bichir gives a masterful performance, Chris Weitz does what he did 10 years ago with About A Boy and even though I didn't talk about it, the screenplay is quite good.
    Anthony L Super Reviewer
  • Feb 20, 2012
    Corny telenovela full of one dimensional characters. Next time try to make a better movie.
    Tsubaki S Super Reviewer

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