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Under the Same Moon (La Misma Luna)

By John Mulderig
Catholic News Service

NEW YORK (CNS) -- A plucky 9-year-old boy faces the dangers of undocumented immigration in "Under the Same Moon" ("La Misma Luna") (Fox Searchlight/Weinstein), a film that movingly dramatizes the real-life ordeal of millions of children left behind by their migrant parents.

Young Carlos Reyes (Adrian Alonso), nicknamed Carlitos, lives in northern Mexico with his grandmother and temporary guardian, Benita (Angelina Pelaez). After four years of separation, he longs for his mother, Rosario (Kate del Castillo), a maid working without papers in Los Angeles.

When Carlitos awakens one morning to discover that Benita has died in her sleep, he is determined to join his mother. So he pays American siblings Martha (America Ferrera) and David (Jesse Garcia) to smuggle him across the border under the back seat of their car. They make it across, but the plan misfires, leaving Carlitos alone, broke and still far from his mother.

After a narrow escape from a drug addict intent on selling him into prostitution, Carlitos finds shelter in an informal hostel for Mexican workers. There he meets Enrique (Eugenio Derbez), a tough, go-it-alone farm laborer with whom he forms an unlikely friendship.

Director Patricia Riggen's touching but unsentimental debut features luminous performances from its three leads, with Rosario emotionally torn, Carlitos persistent but tempted to despair and initially cold Enrique undergoing a remarkable transformation. A scene in which Carlitos, at a moment of great danger, quietly but fervently recites the Our Father has special resonance.

In Spanish. Subtitles.

The film contains occasional crude, crass and profane language and a sexual reference, though it's probably acceptable for older teens.The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

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Mulderig is on the staff of the Office for Film & Broadcasting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. More reviews are available online at www.usccb.org/movies.


Copyright (c) 2008 Catholic News Service/USCCB. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed.
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