La MISSION (2010)
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Critic Reviews for La MISSION
A well-intentioned film that nonetheless falls head first into the kind of surface-level clichés and stereotypes that are usually reserved for basic cable TV movies.
La Mission feels more like Sundance fodder from 20 or 25 years ago than something with much relevance today.
I don't require acceptance and reconciliation, and La Mission is forthright in avoiding easy answers. But does the screenplay shortchange Che by painting him more broadly at the film's end than he seemed at the beginning?
Benjamin Bratt ably depicts both sides of this character and creates a memorable portrait in the process.
The problem is that the screenplay to La Mission should never have gone before the cameras in this condition.
Audience Reviews for La MISSION
In "La Mission," Che Rivera(Benjamin Bratt, who is very good) works as a bus driver in San Francisco. In his spare time, he fixes up custom cars that take up space on a communal driveway, much to the consternation and complaints of his neighbor Lena(Erika Alexander). His latest is a special job for his son Jes(Jeremy Ray Valdez) for graduating high school before he moves away to college in Los Angeles. What Che doesn't know is that his son is gay and has a boyfriend, Jordan(Max Rosenak). Even while it might be more concerned with delivering a message of acceptance(which fits in well with a lot of Che's friends watching Oprah) and non-violence(especially important in this day and age) than in telling a compelling story, "La Mission" also manages to be an introspective look at a part of San Francisco that is often ignored and is possibly in danger from gentrification. Along these same lines, the movie suffers from a slack pace('Low and slow' might be fine for an evening drive but it's not the way to go if you want to get anywhere.). And while sporadicly cliched, it still manages to surprise with occasional bouts of complexity. While it is certainly fine to respect traditions, it is inferred that Che might be spending too much time in the past, which is implied by the older music on the soundtrack and the cool cars, and is therefore less open minded than he should be.(In fact, Jes has grown out of his previous interest in the cars.) At the same time, he has successfully escaped his troubled past and built a new life.
Being gay is tough on the kid and many movies show that. It was refreshing to see a "coming out" story that fallows the parent(s) dealing with the news. I came out in the south and it was god to see a West coast Latino "coming out" and see they are not very different. "Coming out" is a struggle for most and thank God some do have an easier experience, but the movie reminds us most have it difficult more so than easy. It is hard to remain true to yourself when someone you loves sees life completely differently.
Melodrama drenched in Latin American culture with a made for tv feel. The characters are involved. There just isn't enough dialogue to go on.
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