Under the Same Moon

2 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

The frontal assault on your tear ducts begins immediately: A mother (Del Castillo) breaks down as she pledges her love to her young son, Carlitos (Alonso), over the phone. She’s in Los Angeles, an illegal immigrant trying to make a living; he’s still in Mexico, taking care of his infirm grandmother. This weekly call ends with a spectacular display of waterworks, and Patricia Riggen’s moppet melodrama only gets more shameless from there. Carlitos sneaks across the border with a Chicana (Ugly Betty’s Ferrera), vowing to find Mom. The road is paved with perils—meth tweakers, chicken-hawk pimps, the multitentacled beast known as “La Migra”—but with the help of a patron-saint drifter (Derbez), the boy heads west to reach his goal.

Given how Riggen and screenwriter Ligiah Villalobos have so blatantly rigged the game, it’s never a question of how Under the Same Moon will end, but of what will happen along the way. The answer, depressingly, is a parade of cheap shots designed to provoke knee-jerk reactions; only a montage of puppies being slaughtered would be more manipulative. Every so often, a telling detail surfaces: the way that migrant workers interact while watching a soccer game, or the Spanish radio patter that accompanies a housemaid’s predawn commute. Then more thick tides of telenovela sap wash away any whiff of authenticity. Some will say that only hardened hearts wouldn’t be moved by a child searching for his mother, but this is exactly the kind of lazy emotional exploitation that breeds cinecynics.



Release details

Cast and crew

Patricia Riggen
Ligiah Villalobos
Adrian Alonso
Kate del Castillo
Eugenio Derbez
America Ferrera
Carmen Salinas
You may also like