Some of the best films out there are ones recounting the lives of real life people whose actions changed the world for the better or worse depending on the circumstances. These films, when done right really dig into your core to feel what they had to go through for their particular struggle. The latest Cesar Chavez brings along a great cast including Michael Pena, Maerica Ferrera, Rosario Dawson, John Malkovich, but does it do this man’s struggle for his people justice or should it have been left in the fields?
Cesar Chavez follows the birth of a modern American movement telling the story of this 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. The story of Chavez isn’t one that features anything action packed but is intriguing to see the struggles and trials that he went through for his people. This film does a decent job to take you on the journey without trying to pull the heart strings and make it sappy. Here they let the film play out like his life allowing you to just step to the outside and look in and learn more about the struggle. Michael Pena takes on the lead role and does a great job with the part. He is always great so it is great seeing him get to headline a film and knock it out of the park. The rest of the cast do a good job bringing it all together and seem to have real chemistry with each other. The film is interesting and informative and will surely open the eyes to those that may not understand what the workers were dealing with then, but the film still never quite packs the punch it needs to really get you to feel their struggle. It is so by the numbers telling the story it fails to really suck you in to feel the real suffering these people were going through. This doesn’t ruin the movie, it is just more of a missed opportunity. This is likely due to the fact that they merged his struggle for the workers and his struggles as a husband and father together which took some of the focus away from the workers issues on some level.
Despite not quite packing the punch you might hope for in this important historical story, the film still works and manages to entertain thanks to the performances by everyone involved. Much like most films regarding important moments in history this film should be seen for that alone and will likely not only entertain, but enlighten those that know little about the struggle and make it even more clear to those that already know of the history.