La Misma Luna (Under the Same Moon)

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?

6 responses to “La Misma Luna (Under the Same Moon)

  1. I completely agree that this film did not touch upon some of the most-common issues that immigrants face throughout their immigration journey. This film, however, I feel wanted to emphasize more on the familial traumas that immigration comes with. The film, I believe,wanted to highlight more of the emotional and psychological challenges that immigrants face, especially for immigrants such as a mother and a child, a group of immigrants that are not examined upon very much in comparison to men.

  2. I agree I love seeing movies that have a happy ending, but unfortunately not everything in real life has a happy ending. Indeed Hollywood has tried to make movies out of controversial issues, but do not depict the reality of these issues. This film portrays the issue of immigration, and like you said it has a happy ending, but why is it hard for filmmakers to show the audience the truth? I feel like producers are scared to show the audience the truth and harsh reality of immigrants because many people in the U.S. believes that immigration is not a big problem and not hard to overcome. Yet I believe that as time is progressing, more and more producers what to be different. They do not want to hold back and are showing issues that were never meant to be exposed. I think films like this one touch on the good and happy aspects of immigration; like family reunification, resiliency, but it does not touch on the harsh conditions of the border. I have a feeling that in the next few years a producer will not hold back anything and produce a film that is uncensored and shows the trajectory of an immigrant.

  3. Although it would be unfair to say that there are not immigrant success stories, it is more unlikely that an immigrant would have a Hollywood style crossing of the border. But, personally, I don’t think I would have enjoyed watching a movie that depicted more of the reality, especially when it involves a child. It was more comforting to watch this little boy succeed in crossing the border and, out of all the public telephones in East Los Angeles, finding and re-uniting with his mother after so many years. The reason this director decided to develop the film this way is probably because she didn’t want to bring any negativity to the audience; she wanted her film to sell and most people does not enjoy seeing brutal realities as entertainment, people want happy endings. Directors will continue producing films with happy endings or few tragic events because that is what the public wants to see. They don’t want to acknowledge the true difficulties and tragedies that are associated with crossing the border. Everything must be “pretty and colorful” in Hollywood.

  4. I definitely agree with srebecalopez in that Patricia Riggen was very subtle in depicting the harsh realities immigrants face while crossing the Mexico-US border. However, I still believe that there is much we can take away from this heart-touching film. The director made sure to portray and convey both the struggles and sacrifices of love that women make to emotionally and economically provide for their children. Rosario exemplifies the working, single, immigrant mother that embodies the drive and love, which many other women in the immigrant community possess, to provide for her son. So, although it is unfortunate that the actual migration experience was not depicted “like it is,” Riggen still managed to let her viewers take other meaningful messages from the film’s story.

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