Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Better Life (2011)

A gardener in East L.A. struggles to keep his son away from gangs and immigration agents while also trying to give him the opportunities he never had. [imdb]

Nominated for 1 Oscar:

Best Actor: Demian Bichir

What a waste of a nomination! And more importantly - I think I even tweeted it: I can't believe the movies I see for Oscar! And that's because I try to see all the nominees from all the feature film categories. And given that Best Actor is such an important one, I couldn't miss this. But I swear, it was painful to get through. All the cliches are there; and it's bad even for a TV movie.

It's predictable, with poor writing and it creates these supporting character that are embarassingly written and even more tragic: embarassingly acted. The casting hurts, i don't think they could've found least talented teenagers; the leading kid is ok-ish, but the rest of the gang made my eyes roll till I fainted. :D

Demian Bichir gives a good performance, but NOT one that would become worthy of a nomination. He gets a more emotional scene towards the end, but that's just about it: it's true, the screenplay doesn't help much, but I am surprised that some voters actually had him as their number one choice (and moreso, that they saw A Better Life to begin with, and not Shame or other indie films).

My rating for the film: 3.5/10. The film tells a predictable story that didn't need to be told.


  1. Well, I'm not saying "TOLD YA" but I kinda felt this nod coming. It was just like Melissa Leo/Richard Jenkins.

    1. This was much worse that both Frozen River (not a fan) and The Visitor. I'm just surprised voters actually sat thru this

  2. Never underestimate the power of the first screener of the season. It powered Richard Jenkins and Amy Adams (way back for Junebug) and now it's worked again.