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Entre Nos - Movie Review & Trailer

DVD Release Date: July 20, 2010

Review by Compay for LatinRapper.com

 

Starring: Paola Mendoza, Sebastian Villada, Laura Montana, Anthony Chisholm, Andres Munar

 

While Entre Nos will undoubtedly remind some people of The Pursuit of Happyness, there are a number of reasons why you should check this gritty independent flick out.

 

Inspired by the life of writer and co-director Paola Mendoza's mother, Entre Nos tells the story of one immigrant's struggles to care for her family in the streets of New York.  Mariana, also portrayed by Paola Mendoza, is a Colombian immigrant with two small children, Gabriel and Sebastian.  After arriving in America to reconnect with her children's father, Mariana suddenly finds herself abandoned with no money and virtually no grasp of English.

 

From making empanadas to rifling through trash for soda cans to recycle, Mariana finds herself in an unrelenting pressure cooker.  What follows is a journey of pain, frustration, and sheer determination to find peace of mind in a new country.

 

I originally had mixed feelings about the story, as I've seen a number of movies that explore the life of someone on the grind in a big city.  There are two things that make Entre Nos stand out, however.  The first is that we're given a strong and determined mother as the lead character.  The second is that we're treated to a terrific performance by heavily underrated actress Paola Mendoza.

 

Mendoza, herself a Colombiana, first caught my attention back in 2004 with her performance as a strung-out mother in the film On the Outs.  A few years later, she impressed me again with her role in Sangre de Mi Sangre.  Mendoza brings a sense of realness to her roles, and with a glance can communicate genuine emotional suffering.  The film had an even more profound impact on me when I later discovered that the character of Mariana was patterned after Mendoza's own mother, a Colombian immigrant.

 

The filmmakers also hit a bullseye in their casting of Sebastian Villada as Mariana's 10 year old son, and Laura Montana as his six year old sister Andrea.  I was also pleasantly surprised to see Sarita Choudhury of Mississippi Masala fame with a small part in the movie, as well as Anthony Chisolm, a regular from HBO's Oz (Burr Redding).  The film also succeeds with a stark yet beautiful guitar soundtrack, complementing the heartfelt performances of the talented cast.

 

There's not an awful lot to the story itself, but what the film lacks in writing, it more than makes up for with touching performances.  While the film does end on a positive note, it was honestly a little challenging for me to deal with how sad and depressing Mariana's situation was.  Unlike many movies with fictional stories of despair, Entre Nos is very moving in that many of us know someone exactly like Mariana.  Possibly a single mother, perhaps a married immigrant couple trying to survive, but it hits closer to home when her situation mirrors that of our own lives, or those of people we've known.

 

Mendoza could have very easily written and directed a film that would be commercially successful.  Instead, she created a film that obviously needed to be made.  Paola Mendoza is hands-down the most underrated Latina in American cinema today, and Entre Nos marks her best performance.  Anyone who supports those who went through the struggle to get a piece of the American Dream should absolutely give this film a watch.

 

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