Saturday, March 24, 2012

A Better Life

A Better Life

A Better Life is a 2011 American drama film directed by Chris Weitz. The screenplay, originally known as The Gardener, was written by Eric Eason based on a story by Roger L. Simon. On 24 January 2012, star Demián Bichir, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor. This film is unique among Hollywood productions in that it is set in a Hispanic community and features an almost entirely Hispanic cast.

Weitz uses A Better Life to explore the culture and geography of Los Angeles. Rev. Gregory Boyle of Homeboy Industries, run by former gang members, helped Weitz and his crew with finding locations and making their film as authentic as possible. The language of the script was modified to reflect the actual slang used in Los Angeles, even reflecting linguistic differences from street-to-street.

* Demián Bichir as Carlos Galindo
* José Julián as Luis Galindo
* Carlos Linares as Santiago
* Eddie "Piolín" Sotelo as Himself
* Joaquín Cosio as Blasco Martinez
* Nancy Lenehan as Mrs. Donnely
* Gabriel Chavarria as Ramon
* Bobby Soto as Facundo
* Chelsea Rendon as Ruthie Valdez
* Kimberly Morales as Julia Blanco
* Lizbeth Leon as Lily Castillo

A Better Life begins with Carlos Galindo (Demián Bichir) waking up and going to work. He works as part of a two-man crew with Blasco Martinez (Joaquín Cosio) as a gardener. Blasco is ready to return to Mexico and continually tries to persuade Carlos to purchase his business from him, which includes the work truck and professional gardening tools.

Carlos' son Luis (José Julián) is in high school and is dating Ruthie Valdez, the niece of a prominent and powerful local gang leader. Although Ruthie’s influences get Luis into trouble, she sincerely loves and cares about him. Luis regularly goes to her house after school and is surrounded by gangs and the violence of the streets. This environment further has Luis contemplating his choice of submitting to the gang lifestyle. Luis and Carlos are at odds with each other because Luis is embarrassed by his father and, although he does not wish to follow in his footsteps, has a hard time committing himself to his education. However, his relationship with Ruthie pushes him more in the wrong direction, and his friend Facundo (Bobby Soto) wants to join the local gang and pressures Luis into doing the same.

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