A Better Life, directed by Chris Weitz, will be shown in free screening at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in North Ephraim on Tuesday, August 21, at 4:30 pm, followed by a discussion.
Carlos is an undocumented Mexican immigrant who works as a gardener tending the lawns of Los Angeles residents who are rich, especially from his point of view. He lives from hand to mouth and day to day in a tiny house whose garden is used to raise starter plants for his clients. His wife left some years ago, and he raises his 15-year-old son, Luis, by himself.
These two men are being pulled apart by life in America. Carlos (Demian Bichir) keeps a low profile, works hard, and holds traditional values. Luis (Jose Julian) hasn’t joined a gang in his neighborhood yet, but that would seem to be his trajectory. He misses school, he quietly considers his dad an irrelevant loser, and when he asks for money and there isn’t any, he knows how to get under his father’s skin.
The action escalates when Carlos is given an opportunity to attain the “better life” by buying his own landscaping business. In a low key, observant way, A Better Life provides a tour of Los Angeles, not the L.A. of Sunset Boulevard or Rodeo Drive, but the L.A. of restaurants where the kitchen staff is undocumented, of Mexican rodeos, of gang territory, of marginal workers who are essential to the city’s economy.
The film is part of the monthly Movies That Matter series, designed to exam a wide range of issues and held on the third Tuesday of every month. The UU Fellowship is located at 10341 Hwy. 42, Ephraim. For further information visit www.uufdc.org or call 920.854.7559.