Movie Review: Under the Same Moon (La Misma Luna) Directed by: Patricia Riggen One People, One Moon By Ricki D. and Jim Lane

This new Mexican film, “Under the Same Moon” is a very timely and present movie. It is going on right now. It shows how the immigration laws affect those whose families are split between the U.S. and Mexico. Their families are just as important as ours.

We loved this movie.

The main characters, a young boy and his mother separated by an artificial border, demonstrate their love and determination to reunite. They live in a situation where somebody else controls everything important, where they may have a job or they may not, depending on somebody else’s malice or whim. Is it right that a boy can’t see his own mother because of some arbitrary borderline? That makes no sense to the characters, and certainly not to us in the movie audience.

Every character was totally convincing. With a minimum of noticeable acting, they blossomed out into real people that we could understand, love and respect just as they showed their love and respect for one another in the hardest of circumstances.

The undocumented workers never know what the day may hold. They don’t know when their workday may begin, and they have no idea when it may end. They don’t know if they can come back tomorrow. They don’t know if the boss who promised their wages will pay, or if they will be turned in to “La Migra.”

The good guys in the movie were all workers. Even though almost all avenues for justice had been stolen from them, the workers went on. Their inner dignity was untouched. Even when the mother finds an easy, but unprincipled, way around her problems, she decides not to do it. She’d rather have her own honest, humble dignity.

The workers were capable of the greatest sacrifices for their own and other people’s dignity.

It might have seemed odd that there were no bad guys in “Under the Same Moon.”

The U.S. immigration authorities were ugly enough, but they had no speaking parts and weren’t really part of the movie except as symbols of oppression. The two college kids trying to pay a few bills by smuggling immigrants weren’t really evil. The junkie was, if anything, more pitiable than the boy he betrayed. As the movie unfolds in a nice air-conditioned American theater, we slowly realize who the bad guys in this movie are. It’s us, the people living on this side of the border and not doing what we can do to erase injustice.

We recommend this movie for the same reason we recommend getting involved in the struggle for immigrant rights. It’s happening right now, to us and to people just like us, and it matters. We all look at the same moon, and that’s what matters.


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