IndiePix // 2009 // 81 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Franck Tabouring (Retired) // September 23rd, 2010
Inspired by a true story.
Paola Mendoza and Gloria La Morte's Entre Nos is undoubtedly one of the better indie dramas I've seen recently. A courageous tale of a family determined to do everything humanly possible to survive a very rough first summer in a foreign country, the film does a remarkable job examining the benefits of a strong bond between a loving mother and her two children during times of both uncertainty and despair.
When her husband convinces her to leave Colombia behind and move to the United States to start afresh in New York, Mariana (Paola Mendoza) hopes for a better future for herself and her two children Gabriel (Sebastian Villada) and Andrea (Laura Montana). Sadly enough, her life is instantly turned upside down when her husband suddenly announces he will abandon his family to pursue a new career in Miami.
With no one to turn to for help, Mariana and her kids are forced to find a way to survive in an unfamiliar place that doesn't make it easy for new immigrants to adapt to the American way of life. Whether this means sleeping on a park bench or wandering around town collecting cans to earn a few bucks, Mariana is ready to do whatever she can to overcome the numerous unexpected obstacles she encounters on her journey towards a better existence.
Entre Nos is above all a very emotional viewing experience, and the main reason the film works so well as a compelling drama is the wonderful depth of La Morte and Mendoza's sincere characters. Dramas like this one have a stronger impact on audiences whenever the characters are more important to the success of the film than the story, and Entre Nos introduces us to a family managing to uphold their strong will and affection for each other no matter how big the drawback they run into.
Boasting a fast-paced plot that mostly focuses on how Mariana navigates around town trying to earn enough money to feed her kids and provide them with a roof over their heads, the film also benefits from a gorgeous cinematography and first-class acting. Mendoza completely shines in the role of the lead, and her honest, heartfelt performance perfectly captures the essence of her character. She also shares great chemistry with child actors Villada and Montana, who couldn't be better at what they're doing.
The DVD offers a solid 1.78:1 widescreen presentation of the feature film, complete with strong colors and a sharp image that make for an impeccable picture quality. Add a crisp stereo sound transfer and you've got a disc boasting excellent technicals specs. The bonus section on the DVD features some interesting goodies as well, starting with an informative directors' audio commentary that takes listeners on a journey examining how Entre Nos came into being. Also included is a decent behind-the-scenes featurette, a short film and a PSA on immigration reform. The section wraps with a funny piece on how to cook Empanadas.
Entre Nos took me on an emotional journey I found very easy to surrender my complete attention to. It's a beautifully shot drama featuring great performances, and even though the story remains simplistic throughout, it's the strength and authenticity of the characters that keeps things interesting from start to finish. Most importantly, this film is the epitome of low-budget inspirational filmmaking.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Spanish)
Running Time: 81 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Short Film