I assume almost none of you have seen A Better Life, which is too bad. Chris Weitz’s remarkably tender, tense chronicle of a few of days in the life of Carlos Galindo, an undocumented immigrant who sees his fortunes rise with the chance to purchase a truck that would let him start his own landscaping business, only to see them crumble when it’s stolen, is one of my favorite movies of the year. And Demian Bichir, who some of you may know from Weeds, just landed a Screen Actors Guild nomination for his performance as Carlos. It’s a remarkable performance, to a certain extent the inverse, and maybe the superior, of Michael Fassbender’s turn in Shame. Brandon spends most of his time in a forced placidness, and when his facade breaks, it shatters. Carlos, by contrast, is astonishingly, painfully open. In him you see that the tremendous privilege of the ability to be generous, the shock of the betrayal of that generosity, and the struggle to raise a son in a different life without losing him entirely.
Chris and Demian were kind enough to sit down with me for half an hour last week to discuss A Better Life and the politics of immigration reform in the United States. Our conversation appears here: