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A Better Life

February 24, 2012

A Better Life has never heard of the word “subtle.” The cultural issues are tackled like a lineman. However, the two main characters are so good you begin to care for the characters and forget the plot devices.

The movie centers around Bechir’s character considering buying a truck so he can start his own business and get his  15-year-old son into a better school. The problem is if he gets pulled over he will be deported. He buys the truck and it is quickly stolen. The rest of the story features the two trying to find the truck while avoiding immigration. The schmaltz is never thick and the comparisons to the film The Bicycle Thief are many

2012 Best Actor nominee Demian Bichir is fantastic in the role. It never feels like he is “acting.” The natural acting style Chris Weitz uses keeps the story from being too familiar. The choices he makes are well thought out and measured. His ending monologue is what guaranteed him his Oscar nomination and I’m certain they will show the clip when they introduce the nominees.

The movie rests on Bichir’s shoulders. Without his nuanced presence I’d doubt this film would have had the impact it is having. You like the character so you roll with the paint by the numbers plot. I’m excited to see what is next for Damian and I’m happy that Weitz has gone back to his About a Boy roots and stepped away from The Golden Compass and Twilight big budget films.

Watch this film. Enjoy the Bichir. Wish for About a Boy 2

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