Bread and Roses
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Time Out saysLoach's first North American film assumes a seriously unironic Latino perspective on the great economic divide. Maya (Padilla) has no sooner been ferreted across the border than the traffickers are seeking to exact their pound of flesh. She escapes and hooks up with sister Rosa (Carrillo), who reluctantly gets her a job as an office cleaner. Intelligent and forthright, Maya becomes involved first with Ruben, a colleague saving for college, then with Sam (Brody), a union activist. Loach's committed progressive agenda commands respect, and the film reminds us how unskilled workers in the States are routinely exploited - and of the extent to which they're ignored by the media in general and Hollywood in particular. Padilla makes a good fist of her first film role; Maya's idealism has an irrepressible flirty, impetuous side. It's a pity, though, that Loach and screenwriter Laverty are less interested in the character's emotional life than in her political education. For the one genuinely gripping dramatic confrontation comes between the two sisters, a searingly intimate argument which overshadows everything else in the movie.