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64

Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics What's this?

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7.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 33 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: From the director of About a Boy comes A Better Life – a touching, poignant, multi-generational story about a father’s love and the lengths a parent will go to give his child the opportunities he never had. (Summit Entertainment)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 30
  2. Negative: 1 out of 30
  1. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Jul 20, 2011
    100
    The weight of Carlos' world shows on his rugged face, even with rare half-smiles. This is a masterfully understated performance that should be remembered during awards season.
  2. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Jul 7, 2011
    88
    The performances are pitch perfect, even including Gabriel Chavarria as Ramon, the man who steals the truck. It adds an important element to the film that he embodies a desperate man, not a bad one.
  3. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Jul 9, 2011
    80
    For most of the film, Weitz, riding a fantastic performance by Demián Bichir as the landscaper in question, succeeds in showing the day-to-day struggles that exist beneath the political rhetoric and upper-case headlines.
  4. Reviewed by: Michelle Orange
    Jun 23, 2011
    70
    Bichir - who played Fidel Castro in "Che" - resists the pathetic impulse, bringing dignity and distinction to a man who wakes up every morning knowing it's not just his burden but his job to be invisible.
  5. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Jul 15, 2011
    63
    Unfolds like a fable instead of a believable slice of life. Mexican TV and film star Bichir gives a poignant performance, but he's distinctly more European than the cholos and Chicano laborers on the sketchy edges of the hero's plight.
  6. Reviewed by: Ed Gonzalez
    Jun 18, 2011
    63
    Save for its loving, plaintive, and thorough tour of the seldom-filmed East L.A., A Better Life is, top to bottom, derivative-of Polanski in its direction and of "Bicycle Thieves" in its plot (even Alexandre Desplat's gussy score suggests Angelo Badalamenti playing Mariachi Night).
  7. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Jul 7, 2011
    30
    Unlike its multifaceted director, the film never stretches its boundaries.

See all 30 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 10
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 10
  3. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. Aug 21, 2011
    10
    An exceptionally fine glimpse into the life of an illegal immigrant in LA -- trying to avoid deportation, while simultaneously steering hisAn exceptionally fine glimpse into the life of an illegal immigrant in LA -- trying to avoid deportation, while simultaneously steering his son away from the streets. Demien Bichir deserves an Oscar for his performance. The best film of 2011 thus far. Expand
  2. Jun 29, 2011
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. es una pelicula muy buena a better life por que es la vida que se vivi en los estados unidos con todos los emigrantes. esperemos que venga a denver para verla... Expand
  3. Jan 28, 2012
    9
    Old school movie where there is not always a happy ending but an ending with a little hope. Its a sad yet truly real story and the way it setsOld school movie where there is not always a happy ending but an ending with a little hope. Its a sad yet truly real story and the way it sets off the old values against the street values is clever and thought provoking. Brilliant acting...great movie. Expand
  4. Jun 28, 2011
    8
    Beautiful. Touching. Inspiring. So timely. Anyone who lives in LA should see this film. A very important theme with an even greaterBeautiful. Touching. Inspiring. So timely. Anyone who lives in LA should see this film. A very important theme with an even greater message... I found myself empathizing with even the most questionable characters in this film. Deals with the immigration issue head on and very objectively through the story of a simple laborer and his son. Loved it. Expand
  5. Aug 31, 2013
    8
    drama yang sangat menyentuh, chris weitz yang biasanya terkenal dengan film2 komedinya berhasil membuat drama yang dengan cerita sedehanadrama yang sangat menyentuh, chris weitz yang biasanya terkenal dengan film2 komedinya berhasil membuat drama yang dengan cerita sedehana namun bermakna, dua tokoh sentral di film ini juga bermain rancak bana.......... tapi saya juga heran mengapa hanya sedikit orang yang mereview film ini??!!?!? Expand
  6. Jul 29, 2011
    8
    As a huge fan of handsome actor, Demian Bicher, I was looking forward with great anticipation to the release of A Better Life. Bicher turnedAs a huge fan of handsome actor, Demian Bicher, I was looking forward with great anticipation to the release of A Better Life. Bicher turned in a superb, heart-wrenching performance as Carlos Galindo, an undocumented Mexican immigrant and gardener who encountered overwhelming obstacles raising his son, Luis (Jose Julian), alone in a gang-infested neighborhood of East Los Angeles. Carlos represents countless "Illegals" scattered across the United States who are exploited in every conceivable way and survive the most oppressive circumstances to support their families -- one indication of how dreadful conditions are in Mexico. Carlos' wife, weary from bearing one disappointment after another, left him when Luis was a young child. Carlos is so devoted to his son's well-being, he gave him the only bedroom in their tiny apartment while he slept on a tattered sofa in the living room. Though the completely "Americanized" Luis gets suspended from school repeatedly for poor attendance and acts generally like an entitled brat, Carlos is patient and forgiving and treats him as if he were a prince. Whatever it took, Carlos simply wanted Luis to have the opportunities he never enjoyed, among them, steer clear of negative influences, avoid being arrested and annihilated by the prison system, graduate from high school -- college maybe (?) -- and live a happy, rewarding life -- quite a feat for a teenager growing up in poverty in a barrios. Carlos is a loyal man with refined principles and notably high moral values, something Luis did not appreciate until his Dad, driving without a license, was arrested during a traffic stop and deported. A Better Life is realistic and thought-provoking. Viewers' attention was riveted throughout the entire feature -- you could literally hear a pin drop. There were three rounds of well-deserved applause after the film ended. I would be surprised if Bicher were not nominated for several 2011 Best Actor Awards. Expand
  7. Jan 30, 2012
    6
    overrated film. Bicher is good, the film lacks an emotional impact because it tries to hard to appear as if it is not preachy yet only consistoverrated film. Bicher is good, the film lacks an emotional impact because it tries to hard to appear as if it is not preachy yet only consist of messages that most people will understand within the first 20 minutes. A missed opportunity for a great film Expand

See all 10 User Reviews

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