Under the Same Moon Reviews
director Patricia Riggen wonderfully shows the life of an illegal immigrant making a better life not just for her but for her child
plus it really shows the tragic side of things when so many people are hiding from the INS afraid of getting deported back to Mexico
everyone just wants a better life and for Carlitos he just wants to be with his mother since his father abandoned him and his grandmother is his only guardian to avoid being taken by his greedy aunt and uncle
after she dies though Carlitos makes the perilous journey to cross the border to find Rosario and it's not as easy as it seems
he runs into traffickers, druggies, and even another illegal alien looking for work in NY who wants nothing to do with him
the performances are striking for a film of this caliber; so much stuff revolving around the average person looking for honest work and making a living, the downsides of not being a registered US citizen, and there's even a song about Superman being an 'alien' himself about why doesn't bother to have a green card like the rest of us
no one chooses this kind of living unless it's for a good reason, Rosario is that person doing what she can for her son
Carilitos even takes comfort knowing that even though they are apart they can both glance at the stars under the moon to feel close
the music is very sweet, the little kid is incredible, and despite a few scenes of stereotyping the movie does capture the lifestyle of an alien trying to make their way into a foreign land full of repression and hardship
This film also reminds me of one of my son's favorite movies from his childhood---An American Tail, which also has a little boy separated from his parents while immigrating to American, and has lovely music.
It is being shown in schools in the Spanish for natives class!! Way to go, American kids need to know this cruel reality and appreciate their blessings.
Under the same moon is one of those movies that get missed. It's got heart, humor and just an amazing movie to watch, it's well written, directed, shot and acted. The movie is a tear jerker from start to finish. There's nothing in this feel good movie that you won't enjoy
Some may find this unrealistic, but Carlitos is amazingly intelligent at the age of 9. He has a special way of connecting with adults and sometimes manipulating them in order to get what he wants. This is not to say there is a maniacal or evil motive behind what Carlitos wants from adults, but he is a natural at convincing others to help him, and he must be since he is limited due to his age.
On the reverse side, we see his mother living in L.A. in order to make money to support little Carlitos with not one, but two jobs as a maid. She is constantly questioning what will help her son in the long run, which is heartbreaking since Carlitos sometimes thinks that his mother abandoned him. What adds to the mother's struggle is the fact that she is an "illegal," so she must also decide what puts her in a better position to support her only child.
While the mother's story is more dramatic, Carlitos' journey is full of heart and many laughs, especially after he befriends a man named Enrique. Basically, Carlitos depends on this stranger, but Enrique is reluctant to help since the kid annoys him. It is a great love/hate relationship which has us hoping Enrique will come to his senses and do the right thing.
I love how the film combines aspects of the melodrama with the political issue of immigration which is tied to desperation for work. There is little to say about the film in a negative manner except that it may seem cheesy at certain points. Also, if you're looking for a film with complexity you may want to look elsewhere since the plot for this film is simple and straightforward, but it is a fun and touching story.
This movie felt new and fresh most of the time, the only, the other parts are predictable but still have a breath of fresh air in them. One off the choices that really helped this movie was the choice to focus the movie on a child. Even though this is not necessarily a new concept it still felt like something we don't see everyday and it really felt unique.
And the child was not bad in this movie, most children in movies fill the movie with bad acting and create nothing more than a turn off for the audience but Adrian Alonso actually told quite the story with just his face and really added an it factor to this movie. Another aspect that helps the child based plot of this movie was the script. Adrian's lines showed maturity while still holding on to that sense of youth. He acts like a kid making adult choices which is a very risky move that can easily not work and can ruin the movie but they used it to perfection in this movie.
My one complaint in this movie was some of the story choices with this movie. There was so many situations that just unfolded perfectly and seemed extremely unbelievable. This doesn't hurt the movie too much but still does leave a nasty taste in the audiences mouth. Another issue I had with this movie was the pacing. It seemed like most scenes either went too long or needed to be flushed out more, such as when the coyote finds that Carlos is gone. The emotional scene only stays around for around 5 minutes and fails to create a drama filled scene that makes the audience think and feel emotion. While we instead got a 10 minute scene that provided nothing but comedy relief. It felt like the focus on the story and the drama involved with the story was drastically overlooked and instead was focused on creating a movie that would appeal to children.
While Under the Same Moon was a good movie it lacked the focus to be called a classic and ended up being to predictable in most scenes to create anything special. I wouldn't say to not watch this movie but it wouldn't be one that I can see myself watching again anytime soon.