La Misma Luna (2007)
Directed by Patricia Riggen
La Misma Luna is a Mexican-American film from 2007 directed by Patricia Riggen. It follows the story of Carlitos and his mother, Rosario, a pair separated when Rosario decides to travel to America for a better life for the two. Unfortunately, Carlito’s grandmother and caretaker at the time, Benita, passes away suddenly and Carlitos, out of fear that he’ll be forced to live with his uncle, a man who aims to use the money Rosario sends Carlitos for his own selfish needs, Carlitos decides to cross the border and reunite with his mother.
With its comedic scenes and heartwarming moments, this movie is for certain one to remember. It depicts the situation many Hispanic mothers know too well; the situation of having to leave their sons and daughters as they migrate to America in hopes to find a new and better life for them and their children. Although this separation is only temporary, it is extremely painful to bear as a mother’s love for her children is something that continues to blossom every second of
every minute of every hour of every day.
My mother, when she was just in her 20s, had to experience this just like the rest, leaving her son in Peru to the care of her mother and sisters as she arrived in New York. She recalls how this film was one she could never bring herself to watch during her separation of her son until today for it would bring back memories of the child she left at home. This temporary departure is simply unfair and cruel; no mother should have to leave their child for a chance at a better life but unfortunately, that is just how things will remain if nothing is done
This movie truly puts a focus on the life of immigrants, specifically Hispanic immigrants. We see them constantly living in fear of “La Migra”, better known as the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement as many workers are captured by police during a harvest of tomatoes. We see Rosario working two jobs almost everyday just to earn enough money to acquire a lawyer to help bring her son to her and the great panic in her eyes when she is fired from one of these jobs, frightened that she may never be reunited with her son. We see Carlitos become the new member of a household full of immigrants just trying to find a place to sleep. This film highlights the sacrifices made by immigrants in general in order to have a chance at a better life, emphasizing their great determination and astonishing perseverance to get to where they aim to be.
While most would expect this film to follow the perspective of Rosario, the mother, this film does the opposite, focusing on Carlitos’ journey mainly. Due to Carilitos’ innocence, this film thus puts itself in a more positive light as he befriends Enrique, another immigrant who had arrived to America illegally, when they both were able to escape “La Migra” during their time at work. Their relationship, although bumpy at first wih Enrique refusing to partner up with a child, eventually becomes heartfelt once Carlitos’ real father bails out on him when he promised to take his own son to his mother. This film provides one of the most iconic scenes in Spanish-speaking films when Enrique and Carlitos, who were working at a restaurant for a time, sing to the song “Yo No Soy Abusadora (I’m Not an Abuser)” by Laura León as loud as they possibly can to each other, gradually going from simple singing to yelling as the customers watch in confusing, providing a sense of comedy during their troubled times. Once a character full of disgust, Enrique, by the end of this film, becomes the main reason Carlitos is able to reunite with his mother, taking him to L.A by bus and accompanying him as they search for the phone booth that his mother would utilize to talk to her son.
Despite the ending to this movie which doesn’t officially give you a scene where Rosario holds Carlitos in her arms, something the audience has been dying to see, it is obvious that two were able to reunite like they had dreamed of. This film does a fantastic job at depicting the heart-wrenching pain a mother goes through for her child and how a child longs for the touch of their mother. With great evolving relationships and perfect representation of the immigration system and those who are in it, this film is something one will never ever forget.
Danna Taboada (she/her) is a sixteen-year-old writer from New York. She loves listening to music of any genre, dancing, spending time with her family and friends, reading, and writing. She plans on majoring in Creative Writing in the future.