Anthony's Film Review
My Family, Mi Familia (1995)
Here is a captivating drama about culture, family, and the ups and downs of life as immigrants in America...
Dramatic films about people of particular ethnic groups have a special place in my heart. I like these kinds of films because they do two things: capture the essence of the human spirit and provide a glimpse into the unique struggles of different people. When such films are made well, watching a variety of them can be like traveling the world. For example, one can better understand Native Americans from Dances With Wolves, inner-city African-Americans from Boyz N the Hood, and Asian-American women from The Joy Luck Club.
Here's another great one. I've had the pleasure of better understanding Latinos from My Family, Mi Familia, an epic drama that focuses on three generations of a Mexican-American family. The cast includes a variety of actors, including Edward James Olmos, Jimmy Smits, and Jennifer Lopez, and they all do a great job. As for the script and direction, they're both beautifully done and create a movie that is easy to follow, yet emotional on so many levels.
The movie covers plenty of ground and manages to portray the issues that are unique to the Latino community. The beginning of the movie takes place in the early 20th century in Mexico. It focuses on the desire for a better life in America, as portrayed by a scene where a woman tries to cross a dangerous river while carrying her child. Later, a family is started in East Los Angeles, and members of this family have their ups and downs.
For me, the one character who stood out the most was Jimmy Smits's character. He plays a man who is bitter after having suffered emotional trauma as a child. The first time we see him, there is a sense of sorrow. Later on, it becomes clear that he's still a human being who wants to have a better life. He reluctantly gets into a relationship with a woman, but once they realize how much they have in common, he falls in love with her. However, tragedy strikes both of them, and the one who is most affected by this is the child they have together.
If you want a moving film about human experiences within an ethnic context, you can definitely find it with My Family, Mi Familia. I really enjoyed it the first time I saw it, and I actually had not expected anything at first. This is one of those movies that could easily be overlooked, though. When you think of movies from 1995 or of ethnic dramas, this one might not come to mind. But take my word for it. My Family, Mi Familia is very good, and you'll be happy to have seen it if you give it a chance.
For more information about My Family, Mi Familia, visit the Internet Movie Database.