Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Demián Bichir Breaks Hearts in 'A Better Life'

A Better Life, a film about a Mexican gardener living in East LA, does a great job of bringing attention to a considerable cultural issue among immigrants. The so-called ‘melting pot’, celebrated in the United States as something meant to eliminate cultural differences, does more to make kids resent their cultural individualism, something so wonderfully highlighted in A Better Life. The relationship between single father Carlos, played by Demián Bichir, and his teenage son, to be honest, kind of broke my heart. Carlos spends the film slaving away to make something of himself for the sole purpose of providing opportunities for his son in America, opportunities that don’t include joining a gang or dropping out of high school. All the while, his son Luis lazily slacks around the house and gets into trouble whenever he does choose to go to school.

As a first generation Canadian, I know and understand the struggle to maintain your cultural individualism while attempting to ‘fit in’ and mould into a Canadian. It’s tough – especially with parents who’ve sacrificed so much to give you a better life in a more secure country. So it hits home, and Demián Bichir’s performance was more than deserving of his Oscar nod.

Oh, and remember when he was Nancy Botwin's spank-buddy slash Mexican drug lord husband Esteban on Weeds?! Yeah, couldn't believe the transformation either.

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