While some Latinos might think it's a two-hour telenovela, the film starring Kate del Castillo, Eugenio Derbez and Adrián Alonso is worth seeing

By Jack Rico / ShowBizCafe
March 20, 2008 04:00 PM
20th Century Fox

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Cast: Kate del Castillo, Adrián Alonso, Eugenio Derbez, América Ferrera, Carmen Salinas

Script: Patricia Riggen

Director: Patricia Riggen

Rated: PG-13

Grade: B

Made up completely of a Latino cast, Patricia Riggen’s new film Under the Same Moon is a touching story directed to female viewers, Latin mothers and families.

If you’re not familiar with its premise, the film is about a 9-year-old Mexican child (Adrián Alonso) who travels from Mexico to Los Angeles to find his mother (Kate del Castillo), who initially went to the United States to financially support her son.

During his dangerous trip across the border, the young protagonist comes into contact with Enrique (Eugenio Derbez), who develops a complicated half-buddy, half-guardian relationship with the boy. The interpretation of their playful and moving relationship is without a doubt the highlight of the film.

Derbez, one of the most talented comedians this lowly critic has ever seen, manages to step out of his typical box, taking on a more serious role.

As for Del Castillo, the Mexican actress continues to improve her craft with every project she takes on, and as such is on her way to becoming the frontrunner of Televisa actors in Mexico.

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Kate del Castillo talks to Peopleenespanol.com about the role and her experiences in Hollywood

Riggen was wise to choose Alonso for the leading role. His talent in undeniable and his potential through the roof. América Ferrera and Jesse Garcia, although in minor roles, add color to one of the films most dramatic moments.

Many viewers are already familiar with the plot – a Hispanic mother who leaves her native country to find better opportunities for her family in the United States –, and anyone who follows Latin cinema might find the story a bit played out or trite.

Recently, film’s like Sergio Arau’s comedy Un día sin mexicanos, Richard Linklater’s Fast Food Nation and Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Babel have all touched on the theme.

Even though Mexicans are the majority of Latin immigrants in the U.S., the film industry should be able to find more creative ways of portraying their culture.

For example, the producers of the Puerto Rican film Maldeamores (Lovesickness) use film as forum for exploring romantic issues amongst couple. Ideally, a mix of these types of stories with the traditional immigration stories would likely paint a better picture of Hispanics in film.

Another aspect at play here, is that if the members of your cast are known for being telenovela heroines and villains, it can make it difficult to accept the validity of their big screen performances. Nonetheless, the creators of Under the Same Moon know that those small screen viewers will pack the theaters to see their favorite actors.

Overall, the acting is fantastic and the script, although at times predictable, is full of sweet and emotional moments.