A BETTER LIFE
SUBJECTS — U.S. 1991 – Current; Hispanic & California;
SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING — Father/Son; Courage;
MORAL-ETHICAL EMPHASIS — Respect.
AGE: 13+; MPAA Rating — PG-13 for some mild violence and language;
Drama; 2011, 98 minutes; Color. Available from Amazon.com.
Note to Teachers: The U.S. is currently engaged in a wrenching debate about what to do with eleven million illegal immigrants living within its borders. This film puts a human face on what is otherwise an abstract term of vilification, leading the viewer to empathize with the character of Carlos, who is in the country illegally. While there is some truth to the claim that the movie provides arguments for one side in the immigration debate, the universal human truths shown in the film are important for a full understanding of the problem of undocumented people living in the U.S. This is true no matter what position a person ends up taking on the issue. Other films that perform the same function that teachers may want to consider include the classic, El Norte, and the more recent, Spare Parts.