Under the Same Moon ***
Directed by Patricia Riggen
Before I start my critical review for the sweet natured "Under the Same Moon," I will tell a brief anecdote. A few weeks ago I reviewed a film called "Resurrecting the Champ" on this blog. I gave the film a positive rating, mostly because of the very well done acting work by leads Samuel L. Jackson and Josh Harnett. However I slammed the work by Alan Alda, as it was very generic and a coasting job (he was obviously just doing the film to collect a paycheck) and then I slammed the work of the kid in the film. However I got an angry comment from a person who wanted to remain anonymous. Anonymous wrote "Only an ass would dare say anything about Alan Alda. A man with more experience and talent than most of the new talent coming out today and who talks about a kid like that." I tried to explain that I liked the film and that some of the side characters were part of a very formula script. The person responded again with The film, and most of the characters have had wonderful reviews, including the kid. Perhaps you are just hateful and if this is the way you bring attention to an otherwise wonderful film, please don't.
I have to wonder if you have actually seen this film or if you are terribly confused. But since you are so quick to dish out such a nasty review of some greatly talented people." And I never heard from anonymous again. . .
Well anonymous, if you want to see a film with an actual good performance by a child actor, and other good work by characters that we've seen before, I recommend "Under the Same Moon." The lead role is played by a kid named Adrian Alonso, who is just so good and so sweet and obviously giving it his all, that it stands higher than most work by child actors of late. And the film hails from Mexico. This film is about Carlitos, a young boy living in Mexico, whose mother snuck across the border five years ago for work. Every month she sends her son and his grandmother some money, and she calls him every Sunday from the same phone booth-around a Domino's, a mural, and a laundry shop. When Carlitos grandmother dies, and he faces the chance of having to live with an evil uncle, he decides to sneak across the border and find his mother, His trip across the border goes horribly wrong and he is soon on his own, finding aid with other illegal immigrants, all to try and get to the pay phone by the next Sunday.
I always say that I don't mind films that follow a formula, as long as the formula is done right. Well, "Under the Same Moon" is very predictable and very obvious. From the first few minutes you know how its going to end. Of course Carlitos leaves on a Monday, giving him a long journey to get to his mother. The side characters, those who help him on his way, are all obvious as well. But the film still has its charm, and its well acted, and it just works. It has a good heart, and even though it follows this formula it does it well. I'm not saying "Under the Same Moon" will be life changing, but its an overall happy and and a feel good film.