Sweet and Teary
By John DeSando, WCBE's It's Movie Time
"No I would not give you false hope
On this strange and mournful day
But the mother and child reunion
Is only a motion away." Paul Simon (1972)
Having just reviewed Nim's Island, where an 11 year-old girl lives with dad without mom, I now am reviewing Under the Same Moon, where 9-year-old Carlitos (Adrian Alonso) lives in Mexico without his mother, Rosario (Kate del Castillo), I began thinking about all the comedy/dramas featuring kids without parents (another, 21, is about a widowed professor with 2 motherless kids) I have seen recently. Such is our time of dislocation and divorce.
Under the Same Moon is a sweet tale of Mexican challenges with immigration laws, border crossings, and exploitation. Its strength is the soft way it treats these divisive topics as it concentrates on the love of a mother and child, transcending all other issues, dedicated to a reunion at all costs. Along the way, the attractive Rosario must decide if she will marry to facilitate US citizenship or wait for love. The possibility of both is dangled, part of the ongoing optimism of a film that could be tragic in every respect.
Although there is no new ground here, norteno band Los Tigres del Norte provides light lyrics and mariachi-like music just at the right heavy-handed moment. That is to say, this plot is rife with clich?s and fulfilled dramatic expectations?abuse on one side, kindness on the other?but plays to a universally accepted tenderness about the bond between a mother and child and the dangers border-crossing aliens experience every day. It may be the realistic performances that moved me or the liberal leaning side of me that likes a mother-and-child reunion?I do know I was moved, and that's what good filmmaking does.
John DeSando teaches film at Franklin University and co-hosts WCBE 90.5's It's Movie Time, which can be heard streaming at www.wcbe.org Fridays at 3:01 pm and 8:01 pm and on demand anytime. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.RR.com