I recently saw this movie, (which actually premiered sometime last year), and really liked it--especially because it strays away from the usual "Hollywood Happy Ending." This movie is filled with a lot of emotion and a lot of truth and explores the lives of so-called illegal immigrants and their families.
Below is part of an article published last year by Revolution Newspaper regarding this film:
At first it seems father [played by Demian Bichir] and son have little to say to each other. Their relationship is tense and their worlds far apart. But when Carlos's new truck, his ticket to steady and better work, is stolen, Luis hits the streets with him, determined to track it down and to get it back.
Chris Weitz, the director of A Better Life, directed American Pie, New Moon (the second film of the Twilight series), as well as The Golden Compass. Despite having made films with much larger budgets, Weitz told the San Francisco Chronicle that, "I have to say for me, emotionally, this felt like the biggest film that I've made."
Weitz chose current and former gang members to play almost all the gang roles, and these performances are strong. They show specific human beings, not stereotypes. The film also gives glimpses into the Mexican subculture of L.A. and a feel for the life of immigrants like Carlos.
A Better Life lays bare the situation for the worker at the bottom rungs under capitalism, who is worth nothing unless he can labor. Like the 1980s movie El Norte, A Better Life shows the struggle, and the precarious and dangerous lives, of undocumented immigrant workers.
Speaking of the role of Carlos, Weitz told the Los Angeles Times, "All he does is work. He is invisible—and he prefers to remain invisible. Because to raise his head is to risk getting in trouble."