In 1987, Jim White (Kevin Costner) moved to McFarland in the San Joaquin Valley, Kern County, California, and what he found there shocked him. The city appeared to be a predominately Latino ghetto of sorts, where the children chose not to follow his instructions in class and caused him no end of grief. That was, until White noticed the exceptional running skills of the children in his class. With no cross-country team in the city and no one qualified to coach it, White assembled seven of the best runners and pushed them to take a chance and become great.
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Mexican gardener Carlos (Bichir) has lived illegally in Los Angeles since before his 14-year-old son Luis (Julian) was born. When he gets a chance to buy his own truck, and thereby start his own business, he starts to dream of moving to a better neighbourhood to protect Luis from gang influences. But he also worries that if he gets pulled over for any minor offence, he'll be deported and separated from his son. And when his truck is stolen, he knows he has to take action, whatever the cost.
Continue reading: A Better Life Review
The story centers on Pablo (Jesus Nebot), a Honduran refugee attempting to care for his six-year-old daughter Cristina (Chelsea Rendon) in Southern California by himself (mom was killed in the turmoil of Hurricane Mitch). After accidentally hitting and killing a young girl with his truck (pointedly, the girl comes from a white bread suburb with well-manicured lawn), both find themselves on the run. Respecting Pablo's character is immediately difficult, which gets more problematic as more characters enter the mix. Soid (Lindsay Price), a precocious young documentary filmmaker, spies the accident with her video camera and promises Pablo and Cristina safe harbor if he'll allow her to record their experience. Soid is the smuggest interviewer ever, judgmental and ignorant in her questioning, which is a mainly a script device: It allows Pablo to offer hey-wait-a-minute platitudes about prejudice and class struggle.
Continue reading: No Turning Back Review
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