Moon Glow

23 04 2008

“Under the Same Moon” (“La Misma Luna”) 2008

Starring: Kate del Castillo, Eugenio Derbez and America Ferrera

“Under the Same Moon” is a movie with a very hopeful heart. It is an endearing and naïvely optimistic take on a relevant political and cultural issue in America. I have no problem with this sort of naïveté. I believe that portraying a representation of the truth-even if it has to diminish or modify an issue slightly-can potentially make the overall impact stronger.

Rosario is a Mexican Immigrant living and working illegally in Los Angeles. She divides her wages from several jobs between her family across the border and her savings for legal fees necessary to gain citizenship in the United States. Her 10-year-old son Enrique has continued to miss her dearly in the four years they have been apart. It is a story you know. In one form or another, you hear their story every day.

The bulk of “Under the Same Moon” is about Enrique’s journey to find his mother. The film sidesteps the violence and despair that are almost certainly present in the reality of illegal immigration. Instead, it alludes to all of the dangers and tragedies facing immigrants-specifically children-trying to remain illegally in the United States. Enrique is nearly exploited, nearly robbed, and nearly apprehended by the INS. The fact that the film doesn’t “go the distance” so to speak and show graphically the grim realities of child trafficking, of destitution, and of deportation is not a fault. “Under the Same Moon” shows us what is happening using characters that we like and can relate to, rather than ones we are forced to distance ourselves from as a measure of self-protection.

“Under the Same Moon” is guilty of employing various clichés to make its point. Yet there is truth at the core of these truisms. That they probably wouldn’t all happen to the same people inside of the same seven-day period is beside the point. The point is that they happen.

The person who accompanied me to this film could not understand a scene in which Rosario rejects a marriage proposal to an adoring man with a good job and a kind heart. In what world would a woman with less than nothing turn down the promise of security in favor of the possibility for love? That’s the thing about “Under the Same Moon.” It believes in love and happy endings. Its characters are disadvantaged but not desperate. It has hope, and it hopes that we will too.

♦♦♦

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