A Better Life Movie Analysis

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A Better Life Response paper
The film A Better Life focuses on an undocumented Mexican Immigrant and his son’s daily life and struggles living in East Los Angeles. Many viewed this film as a success and it even went on to be nominated for an academy award. Others, like Huffington Post contributor Jonathan Perez, found this movie to be filled with harmful stereotypes and depictions of Latinx people living in the community.
Perez states that his only reservation with the film is the representation of the characters and the community. The film gives off the impression that everyone in the community is gang affiliated or will eventually become one since there is nothing else to aspire to. There is no diversity in this film. Perez questions “How
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Perez adds that since 1991 to 1998 crime actually decreased in California by 36%, but the media coverage rose 400% to depict the communities as lawless and dangerous. Many laws and propositions have passed that encourage minority young to be imprisoned as adults for crimes that were committed as minors. Aside from the laws, the movie did not do a good job at illustrating relations with the police. Police are seen as aggressive enemies in these communities. They make life a lot harder than it needs to be. Perez admits that in the past 8 months he has been pulled over more than 10 times. Police actively target people of color in these communities and are collaborating with Immigration Customs Enforcement. In the film they are shown as neutral, and only appearing when a crime has been committed. Personally I picked up on this and I hated this aspect of the film. In these neighborhoods, police sometimes don’t even show up when they are called, so I found it ironic that an officer was always around when the two major crimes were taking place in the film. People are also often know to use tactics as checkpoints looking for drunk drivers in order to arrest undocumented Latinx. Perez goes on to describe a scene of police brutality and says that if films would like to show violence in these communities they should show where the violence is actually stemming
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