“When are you coming?” A black-haired boy asks over a pay phone.
You have 10 seconds left.
“Carlitos, I love you so much! A woman replies, crying. “I love you more than all the stars, all the earth and—”
BEEP–Insert more coins.
Rosario (Kate Del Castillo) stands in a Los Angeles neighborhood. She holds the pay phone close to her ear, a few tears running down her face. Reluctantly, she wipes away the tears and turns to leave.
At the other end of the phone, 9-year-old Carlitos (Adrian Alonso) looks disappointed. A tear also falls down his cheekbone; he lets it fall. Carlitos puts the pay phone down and turns to the streets of Mexico.
This is the beginning of Patricia Riggen’s La Misma Luna/Under the Same Moon. If you thought this scene was heartbreaking, well, imagine going through a similar situation in real life. According to AmericanProgress.org, 4.5 million U.S.-born children have at least one unauthorized immigrant parent in 2010. Moreover, in 2011, the Obama administration deported 46,000 parents of children who are U.S. citizens in the first six months of 2011 — according to the “Shattered Families” report from the Applied Research Center.
Think about this: when millions of Latina women illegally come to the United States each year (and leave their children behind ), what do they come to? To poor-paying jobs and the constant fear of immigration services deporting them?
Under The Same Moon forces viewers to ask if it is worth it. The 2008 film tells the unlikely story of a young boy, Carlitos who crosses the border to find his mother, Rosario, living in Los Angeles. Rosario left Mexico four years ago to seek a better life, leaving behind her young son Carlitos with his grandmother. As he waits for his mother to come back, Carlitos works with a local woman (telenovela queen Carmen Salinas), who organizes illegal border crossings. Every Sunday morning, he waits impatiently for Rosario to call him from the same pay phone on a busy corner in L.A. But when Carlos’ beloved grandmother dies, he decides to go to L.A. on his own, hoping to make it before his mother calls on Sunday morning. Carlitos takes all the money he’d been saving and asks Marta (America Ferrara) and her brother, David (Jesse Garcia) to smuggle him across the border in exchange for money. Eventually, Carlitos winds up traveling alongside a grouchy worker named Enrique (Eugenio Derbez), who can’t stand Carlitos. So, in a desperate attempt to reunite, both Carlitos and Rosario embark on different journeys and along the way they meet many people, and learn how challenging it is to be alone. Despite everything, Carlitos and Rosario never give up hope.
The movie takes place in a world in which kindness wins over a cruel reality. Riggen, was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, where she began her film career as a screenwriter and producer. She moved to New York City in 1998, where she received a Master’s degree in Directing at Columbia University. She explains that her goal for Under the Same Moon was to portray the characters in a positive light, with understanding and respect, instead of “objects of pity or criminals.”
Without a doubt, the best part of the movie is the ending–it’s simple, effective and quick! SPOILER ALERT: In the very final scene, Carlitos has finally found the busy corner that Rosario described countless times over their phone conversations. Eventually, he sees Rosario standing on the other side of the street. She sees him too, since she was looking for him as well. However, they can’t run and hug each other immediately since the pedestrian crossing light is red! It’s a very touching moment filled with satisfaction and merit. Both of them are crying tears of joy. Finally, the last image the audience sees is the change of the pedestrian walking sign. And that’s how Rosario and Carlitos finally find each other!
“With millions of families living separated by strict immigration laws in the United States, the story of Rosario and her son Carlitos resonates within the US Latino community as a testament to the courage and determination of countless families seeking a better life for themselves”~Riggen