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Mixed or average reviews - based on 26 Critics What's this?

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5.2

Mixed or average reviews- based on 13 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , , ,
  • Summary: Chronicling the birth of a modern American movement, Cesar Chavez tells the story of the famed civil rights leader and labor organizer torn between his duties as a husband and father and his commitment to securing a living wage for farm workers. Passionate but soft-spoken, Chavez embracedChronicling the birth of a modern American movement, Cesar Chavez tells the story of the famed civil rights leader and labor organizer torn between his duties as a husband and father and his commitment to securing a living wage for farm workers. Passionate but soft-spoken, Chavez embraced non-violence as he battled greed and prejudice in his struggle to bring dignity to people. Chavez inspired millions of Americans from all walks of life who never worked on a farm to fight for social justice. His triumphant journey is a remarkable testament to the power of one individual’s ability to change the world. Collapse
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 26
  2. Negative: 2 out of 26
  1. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Mar 26, 2014
    83
    In the title role, Michael Peña has a no-nonsense fire: He captures how Chavez borrowed from Martin Luther King Jr. but also fueled the struggle with his own improvisatory brilliance.
  2. 75
    Like "42," Cesar Chavez lacks the budget to feel truly epic in scope. The violence is scattered, shocking and personal, the struggles within the union muted but the outrage — is palpable.
  3. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Mar 27, 2014
    63
    The performances are solid but I walked out of the theater thinking I might have been equally edified and entertained reading the man's Wikipedia entry.
  4. Reviewed by: Jessica Kiang
    Feb 13, 2014
    50
    It’s a competent, unobjectionable history lesson but Cesar Chavez’ legacy needs a more inspired and inspiring telling if it's to get the exposure this crusading figure deserves.
  5. Reviewed by: Stephanie Merry
    Mar 27, 2014
    50
    It seems like a waste of talent, but worse still, Cesar Chavez squanders an opportunity to revisit a story worth retelling.
  6. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Mar 27, 2014
    50
    The film is always a little bit at a distance, almost involving, always good enough to make us root for it, but rarely better than average.
  7. Reviewed by: Inkoo Kang
    Mar 25, 2014
    30
    The careless diminishment of every other character that isn't Chávez — including wife Helen, played by an utterly wasted America Ferrera in a grape-sized role — might be worth overlooking if the film provided any insights into its subject.

See all 26 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 1 out of 3
  1. Mar 28, 2014
    8
    Diego Luna's take on the Cesar Chavez story offers a gripping look at the struggle of the National Farm Workers Association and the manyDiego Luna's take on the Cesar Chavez story offers a gripping look at the struggle of the National Farm Workers Association and the many obstacles that beset them. While the story isn't particularly hard-hitting when it comes to Chavez's personal relationships, star Michael Peña shines as the leader of a modern American movement, with the film being presented in an accessible and honest manner. Expand
  2. Apr 2, 2014
    6
    If you're too young to remember the '60s grape boycott, this biopic will put it in perspective. Chavez is the labor organizer who ledIf you're too young to remember the '60s grape boycott, this biopic will put it in perspective. Chavez is the labor organizer who led California farm workers in their 5-year fight for fair conditions and a living wage. The fact that he was a mild-mannered advocate doesn't help this film, because it's lacking in the fervor that would have made it rousing or at least moving. The conditions are never fully explored and even the villains aren't particularly fleshed out. Michael Peña is fine in the lead, but director Diego Luna never elevates this potentially powerful story above a competent history lesson. Expand
  3. Mar 29, 2014
    2
    Director Diego Luna took the under-told, inspiring, and compelling story of one of America's most important labor leaders and created a dull,Director Diego Luna took the under-told, inspiring, and compelling story of one of America's most important labor leaders and created a dull, cliche, and poorly crafted film. Simply put, Cesar Chavez deserves better than this. It's saddens me to think this will be the image that many people first see of him.

    Don't waste your money.
    Expand

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