A young mother outlines her son’s name in the surfaces she cleans. Her days are filled not so much with longing, but the very real comfort unconditional love brings. Her young son, once a mistake, is now an enormous gift. He is the driving force in her life.
La Misma Luna (Under the Same Moon) debuted at the Latin Film Festival in Los Angeles and was immediately a Best Foreign Film contender. An unexpected, sweet and expertly shot film, it is a startling departure from reality shows and Mission Impossible franchises. When was the last time a movie moved you to tears and simultaneously sent a reality check to your brain that love, not just sexual love, is the greatest chemical gift of all. Settle in for some outstanding acting, pace and character development. La Misma Luna’s heart of gold with subtitles will likely “translate” into a long life on DVD and online.
Rosario (Kate Del Castillo) is an undocumented worker in the U.S. and the sole support of her tiny family. She hasn’t seen her son in four years. Now nine, “Carlito” has survived on a diet of Sunday 10 a.m. phone calls and the loving gifts his mother manages to send. This Sunday, Carlito is struggling with his own developing sense of right and wrong: That “if love means two people want to be together then why aren’t we?” His budding yet underdeveloped sense is starting to chafe at the separation. Crippled by the distance, Rosario can only wince as he begins to form his idea of love. Clinging to the payphone on a nameless Los Angeles street corner, her soothing words cannot disguise the pain in her heart nor the distance between them. It is almost too harsh to bear.
Days later, Carlito awakens to find his caregiver dead. Alone with his own devices he makes the only decision he can. “I'm going to find my momma before she forgets about me.” And “please (God) help me get there (to Los Angeles) before Sunday.”
Adrian Alonzo (Carlito) is magnificent as the determined near tot driven by the only love he's ever known. His wide-eyed innocence betrays a focus far beyond his years. His spirit inspires those around him to complicity. But the trip, as it would be for any child alone, is wrought with peril.
Enrique (Eugenio Derbez) is the brooding undocumented drifter swept up in Carlito’s orbit of determination. It is something he himself, has lost long ago. At all times an unwilling participant, Enrique can't help but notice everyone they encounter prefers the boy. Selfishly trying to pawn Carlito off on a father the boy has never met is the scene that emerges as nothing short of an original, emotional masterpiece.
Call it the odd duck film that grabs your heart (in subtitles no less) and gently pulls you back into love, life and true purpose. If you exist as more than two arms and a pulse, you'll be tearing up regularly.
And what movie gives you that.
On DVD and Netflix.