USA Today - 03/19/2008 3 stars out of 4 -- "[A] powerful and evocative account of the efforts undertaken to forge a perilous mother-and-child reunion....It is a moving tale of yearning, as well as unflagging courage and determination."
Los Angeles Times - 03/19/2008
"A director with a talent for putting emotion on film, she knows how to get those tears flowing, both on screen and in the theater."
Box Office - 04/01/2008
"[M]ostly the movie floats on the sincerity of Alonso as Carlitos..."
Entertainment Weekly - 03/28/2008
"[T]he director has smuggled us, with no-bull authority, into the rituals, jokes, and survival games of a culture of half-existence: people who live in two places and nowhere at all." -- Grade: A-
Premiere - 03/19/2008
"[T]he acting is superb, with Derbez due for special mention....There's something in his bearing and gaze that's appealingly off-kilter..."
Director Patricia Riggen delivers a heartwarming debut with UNDER THE SAME MOON. The story of the enduring bond between mother and son, the film stars Kate del Castillo as Rosario, a mother struggling to support her family in Mexico while living illegally in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, her son, Carlitos (Adrian Alonso), is left under the care of his grandmother. But when she dies, nine-year-old Carlitos embarks on a colorful and arduous journey across the border in search of his mother. The script has Carlitos narrowly escaping kidnapping, drug addicts, and Border Patrol workers, aided by the unlikely friendships he forges along the way. As we watch Rosario grapple with life as an illegal immigrant in Los Angeles, Carlitos's optimism and strength of spirit gain him a migrant worker (Eugenio Derbez) as a traveling companion.
Riggen keeps a potentially depressing topic surprisingly light by including frequent musical interludes, and cinematographer Checco Varese takes care to create a visual journey that's stunning throughout. America Ferrera (UGLY BETTY, REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES) appears in a small role, but it is 13-year-old Alonso who steals the show as the brave, funny, and precocious Carlitos. Apart from the subtitles, the film offers family viewing for parents and children alike. While it touches on timely and pressing issues concerning immigration and discrimination, the film, which won a standing ovation at the Sundance Film Festival, works on a simpler level as well by focusing primarily on the sweet relationship between a mother and her son.
Even across thousands of miles, the special bond between a mother and son can never be broken. It gives hope to Carlitos, a scrappy nine-year-old boy whose mother, Rosario, has gone to America to build a better life for both of them. While Rosario struggles for a brighter future, fate forces Carlitos' hand and he embarks on an extraordinary journey to find her. Critics and audiences alike have praised this inspirational and heartwarming tale of a mother's devotion, a son's courage and a love that knows no borders.
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