Under the Same Moon

432 words | 2 page(s)

I knew very little about Under the Same Moon before watching it for the first time. I had watched the trailer a few years ago and expected it to focus on the main characters’s mother and son relationship. And whereas the latter remains, in fact, a strong leitmotiv throughout the entire film, its particular exploration of illegal immigration, national identity, family dynamics, and even the linguistic experience of a certain community, came as a surprise.

The film’s dignifying approach to Mexican undocumented immigrants through the image of a poor, single mother who works two jobs to sustain her son and old, chronically sick mother across the border could have easily become, in my opinion, a rather victimizing, may be even romanticized narrative about the doubtlessly complex situation Mexican undocumented immigrants face as a vast demographic. And even more so when taking into account Carlitos’ journey to find Rosario again. But the relatively colorful palette of minor roles helps immensely, if not succeeds, at counterbalancing this.

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We can find in Enrique, Paco, the couple of university students who offer to smuggle Carlitos into the United States, and even in the Mexican crook who attempts to buy him off the junkie, a kind of diversity that could not be synthesized nor be strictly understood under the unimaginative good Mexicans/ bad Americans scheme.

In summary, the deeply subjective nature of the story told is, in this sense, a positive aspect of the original screenplay; one that makes the characters more realistic and relatable.

On the other hand, I think that the film fails to resolve in a convincing or definite way the fundamental dilemma the characters are immersed in: is it really worth it? When Rosario is offered the possibility to marry off a documented immigrant who evidently appreciates her, which could lead to bringing her son to the States in a comfortable and safe manner, she declines.

Ultimately, Rosario concludes that if she is ever going to matter in her son’s life, she must return. What is more: Rosario concludes that life in America is not, by any means, better than living in Mexico. But before she can go through with her plans to go back, Carlitos finally arrives. This scene, the last scene, dissolves irremediably the dramatic tension that could have led to a cinematographic, oddly critical statement about illegal immigration from a Mexican perspective.

Finally, I did learn some new words like “desgreñar”, which means “to pull the hair off”, and “troca”, which may be related to the English word for “truck”, since this is what it means.

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