Heidi Ewing’s heartfelt drama shows how to share stories of others with empathy and love.
The movie follows two young men from Mexico as they fall in love, cross the border and struggle to carve out a piece of the American Dream for themselves. Ewing uses her documentary roots to seamlessly weave in the real-life inspirations of the younger characters, who recreate the men’s lives before the story begins, right down to their tortured childhoods where their fathers tried to scare them into being straight young men. The movie quietly observes the couple work through these unspoken tensions.
You can see and feel Ewing’s love for her characters in beautifully natural ways. It doesn’t feel like an outsider’s gaze looking down on them from up above, but as if it were another person standing next to them, fearful of the journey north and weary of the hard road ahead. We learn to root for their successes and feel their pain when it comes. The movie gives the audience a stronger emotional connection to their journey by simply putting us in their impossible positions.
Monica Castillo, Roger Ebert