User Score
7.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 33 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 33
  2. Negative: 1 out of 33
Watch On

Review this movie

  1. Your Score
    0 out of 10
    Rate this:
    • 10
    • 9
    • 8
    • 7
    • 6
    • 5
    • 4
    • 3
    • 2
    • 1
    • 0
    • 0
  1. Submit
  2. Check Spelling
  1. Jul 2, 2011
    8
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Touching film. Demian Bicher is such a versatile actor - transforming from the powerful, commanding character in Weeds to the humble, honorable, respectful, and would-be invisible immigrant raising his teenage son. Yes, there are some cliches, but the film vividly puts human faces on a terribly difficult issue. I was glad to see that the police and court-appointed lawyers at the detention center weren't portrayed as unfeeling monsters - there was a degree of sympathy and understanding there. And the threat of the gang life for the son was just enough - if the son had been drawn fully into it, it would have been too hope-crushing for the father. Well-done film, but not great. Made me want to catch The Visitor and American Me again. Expand
  2. BKM
    Feb 8, 2012
    7
    The movie initially unfurls as a seemingly simple message movie about illegal immigration, but by the end it hits you upside the head with the harsh realities of that very subject. The understated performances from the cast help to deepen the emotional impact that the film ultimately delivers.
  3. May 23, 2012
    5
    I chose to watch it due to the Oscar nomination of the protagonist and indeed I saw a very powerful performance of this stoic and dignified Mexican immigrant in the USA trying to provide a better life for his son. However, outside this noteable performance the film is both predictable and full of clichés and thus will quickly be forgotten.
  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 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.
  5. 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 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. CarlosAs 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
  6. Nov 13, 2011
    9
    Incredible, beautiful, saddening, with the best message that can be: he wants to yours while they are with you ... is sad to see the side of the coin in which immigrants seeking the American dream.
  7. 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 sets off the old values against the street values is clever and thought provoking. Brilliant acting...great movie.
  8. 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
  9. Aug 21, 2011
    10
    An 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.
  10. 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 consist of messages that most people will understand within the first 20 minutes. A missed opportunity for a great film
  11. Aug 31, 2013
    8
    drama 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??!!?!?
Metascore
64

Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 30
  2. Negative: 1 out of 30
  1. Reviewed by: Eve Barlow
    Jul 25, 2011
    60
    An interesting exploration of class struggle which recalls classics like "Bicycle Thieves" but doesn't quite live up to them.
  2. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Jul 21, 2011
    75
    With such classics as "El Norte" and, more recently, "Sin Nombre" and "Under the Same Moon" having addressed the subject matter already and so well, viewers might be forgiven for asking just how many immigration movies we need. As A Better Life proves, as many as there are stories to tell.
  3. 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.