A tender and heartstring-tugging movie

As this election year promises more long-winded debates and endless talking points, expect to hear a lot about the thorny subject of immigration. Sometimes it’s hard to look past the rhetoric to the real lives and families affected by new laws and policy. Under the Same Moon (La Misma Luna; opening today in select theaters), a new and powerfully poignant film, gives a face to this complicated issue.

Directed by Patricia Riggen, Under the Same Moon is about a 9-year-old boy, Carlitos, left in Mexico while his single mother struggles in Los Angeles to earn enough money to have him join her. When his grandmother dies, Carlitos decides to find his mother on his own. The journey brings unexpected terrors — from airless car trunks to INS raids in dusty Texan towns. It’s no wonder, given its fine performances, good humor, and deeply emotional center, that this film received a thunderous standing ovation after its 2007 Sundance Film Festival premiere.

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A tender and heartstring-tugging movie