Under the Same Moon is one of many films that touch on the topic of immigration. This movie is about a mother who leaves her son in Mexico to come to the United States in search of a better life. The main plot is the reuniting of mother and son and the journey Carlitos, the son, takes to the United States.
I really enjoyed watching this film and definitely was moved by the characters to the point of tears. It is a very heartwarming story that touches a controversial topic. I believe that Patricia Riggen, the director, addressed the topic of immigration in a way that does not cause much tension within the audience. I think that this is one of the reasons it was received with a standing ovation the day of its premiere. However, as much as I love the movie and am grateful for its production I believe that it is not very realistic. In the film Carlitos is fortunate enough to always find a solution or someone to help him whenever a problem presented itself, but sadly, this is not the case for all immigrants. Crossing the border into the United States is not always as simple as hiding in a car; many times it is very dangerous and gruesome. While the number of immigrants crossing the border has declined, the number of deaths as a cause of that has not.
This film is a great film but my fear is that it palliates the severity of this immigrant experience. One must watch these films with a critical eye and understand that this is just one story of many. Immigration movies are tough to produce because if they are too detailed and do not send a hopeful message, then the film is critiqued negatively and seen as too controversial, but if the film has the classic “happy ending” then it becomes difficult to address the issue of immigration when it seems as if there is nothing to worry about because everything worked out.
I believe that people, including myself, feel a sense of comfort when movies have the “happy ending” and are almost a depiction of what we wish life would be like instead of reality. My curiosity now is what that means for the future of films that address controversial topics such as immigration. Will producers be forced to mold their films to what society views as acceptable or will they defy those norms and tell it like it is?