The Wizard of Oz is America in Immigration Film ‘Under the Same Moon’

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionE-mail page to friendE-mail page to friendPDF versionPDF version
Average: 4.3 (3 votes)

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5CHICAGO – The immigrant “crisis” in the United States is discussed mostly in political generalities as if those seeking a better life are subhuman. “Under the Same Moon” focuses on the real faces of these people through a 10-year-old Mexican boy who risks everything in a journey to reunite with his mother in Los Angeles.

America Ferrera (left), Jesse Garcia (middle) and Adrian Alonso in Under the Same Moon
America Ferrera (left), Jesse Garcia (middle) and Adrian Alonso
in “Under the Same Moon”.
Photo credit: IMDb

Kate del Castillo is Rosario: a Mexican immigrant who has entered the U.S. illegally to gather more income to send to her mother and son in Mexico. She has been gone for several years and suffers severe heartache when she realizes her small boy is about to turn 10 years old.

Though cared for and nurtured by his grandmother, the boy – Carlitos (played by the excellent Adrian Alonso) – yearns to see his mother again.

When his beloved guardian suddenly dies, he sees his opportunity and arranges a passage with a shady “border crossing for hire” couple (America Ferrera from “Ugly Betty” plays the female half of the pair).

Adrian Alonso in Under the Same Moon
Adrian Alonso in “Under the Same Moon”.
Photo credit: IMDb

After the crossing gets dramatically fouled up, the boy has to escape from the van he’s hiding in within a towing yard in Texas. This begins a journey to his mother in the wilderness of America that’s touched by the kindness of strangers and the shadow of the immigration authority at every turn.

The flavor of the “The Wizard of Oz” permeates this adventure in America. The folks that facilitate the boy’s way are always wary of the “wicked witch” of immigration law enforcement.

There are also effective glimpses into the menial jobs the border crossers endure including the drudge maid work Rosario practices and the vegetable pickers of Carlito’s fellow journeymen.

It is Enrique (Eugenio Derbez) who emerges as the resistant hero for Carlitos. His anger and frustration serves as a representation of all the crossers who are exploited to do the jobs natives won’t touch.

Under the Same Moon
“Under the Same Moon”.
Photo credit: IMDb

It’s unfortunate the actors who play the principles are so clean, beautiful and moral as it adds a touch of the inauthentic to what I imagine is more of a complicated, issue-oriented debate. While this is a simple story of a boy and his mother, it felt like there should have been more to the account.

Also, the overall environment comes off as too soft. Still, writer Ligiah Villalobos and director Patricia Riggen have their hearts in the right place. They express love as a motivation for risk, which is universal empathy. After all, it is you and I who come from some place else. We’re off to see the wizard.

“Under the Same Moon” opened in limited U.S. theaters on March 19, 2008.

Click here for our full “Under the Same Moon” image gallery!

HollywoodChicago.com staff writer Patrick McDonald

By PATRICK McDONALD
Staff Writer
HollywoodChicago.com
pat@hollywoodchicago.com

© 2008 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

User Login

Free Giveaway Mailing

TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • It's NOT ALL About You John Michael

    CHICAGO – John Michael epitomizes the art of the monologue. The Chicago transplant, by way of Dallas, is moving on (he says temporarily) from the city that inspired his last show, “Meatball Seance,” after notorious and successful runs of his other one-man shows, “John Michael and the Order of the Penix” and “Dementia Me.” His farewell performance is his latest, another laugh riot, “It’s NOT ALL About You John Michael,” and will take place at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood on March 1st, 2019. Click here for details, including ticket information.

  • Soccer Player in the Closet, The 2

    CHICAGO – Connecting to the theater collective Nothing Without a Company means a couple of things. One, you may visit parts of Chicago you’ve never seen before – in this case a plant store in an industrial area south of Humboldt Park – and two, you will see some daring and outside-the-box stagings. “The Soccer Player in the Closet” is their latest production – a World Premiere – and it provides what the title implies and beyond. The play runs through March 17th, 2019. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

Advertisement



HollywoodChicago.com on Twitter

archive

HollywoodChicago.com Top Ten Discussions
tracker