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Benjamin Bratt is nothing short of brilliant as the tatted-up Che Rivera, a recovering alcoholic with a passion for lowriders, and pride for the academic achievements of his son Jesse. Bratt channels his inner pachuco with genuine swag, in a role destined for him to play.
Che is old-school Chicano to the bone, which makes for tremendous conflict when he discovers his son's sexual orientation. Rivera's son Jesse is played by Jeremy Ray Valdez, a young Latino with serious acting chops, and an infectious smile. Valdez and Bratt share an incredible on-screen chemistry as father and son, and Rivera's intolerance is something many Hispanic viewers will recognize. The stigma attached to homosexuality amongst old-school (and largely Roman-Catholic) Latinos is something almost never confronted in film.
For those of you already saying, "I'm not going to watch this," calm down. This isn't a "gay" movie, but it does address issues that Latinos tend to sweep under the rug. Jesse's orientation serves as a means of revealing who his father Che really is, and uncovering the pain and rage that needed to be healed in the ex-convict. Helping Che battle his inner demons is Lena, the earthy and extremely sexy neighbor who works for a woman's shelter. Played by beautiful morena Erika Alexander (of Living Single fame), Lena attempts to heal the rift between father and son, while dealing with her own fears of Che. Before the film is over, expect plenty of love, anger, and loss.Read more ›
Che Rivera (Benjamin Bratt in a role that defines his fine acting abilities) has served time in prison, is an Alcoholics Anonymous member, and since his wife's death early in their marriage is the loving father of his well-educated and well-loved son Jesse (Jeremy Ray Valdez, in a role that should mark him for an important career). Che works hard as a bus driver, spends his free time restoring old cars to ride every Friday evening - 'slow, low riding through the streets of San Francisco's Mission neighborhood'. His family includes Rene (Jesse Borrego) and Ana (Talisa Soto) who share as much pride in Jess as Che: their only son was born with a cardiac defect that has made them more sensitive to the differences in children.Read more ›
Who was this film written for? It was primarily written for Latino people who are still struggling with the meaning of Machismo, intimacy, and same sex love. These are still profound issues for the Latino communities, believe it or not! Not four weeks ago four people were shot near our home in gang violence. Two of them were precisely around this issue. Thus the Anglos who feel this move is cliche'ed or overstated have spent little ore no time in the Mission.
This movie is about a community coming to terms with itself, with change, and with the deeper meaning of Love. Che Rivera is a living character but he is also a symbol for the whole community. The fact that he, himself, falls in love with a Black sister in the film emphasizes the attempt to deal with the wholeness and integrity of the change that the movie addresses. The beauty of the movie preserving Lena's freedom to choose (by not tying up her choice in the last scenes) when Che comes to her finally feeling his own pain and understanding his violence is exquisite and beautifully done.
This is a fine movie. It is one of the best films about Latino culture I have seen. We are privileged to have it to enjoy again and again.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This item was as advertised and arrived in perfect condition.Published 1 month ago by Elizabeth Gamboa
This is a great movie. It definitely has a lesson of understanding and ideas on love. I wish I had seen it when it was released..if ever it was in theaters.Published 1 month ago by Christopher