“Chris Weitz‘s A Better Life, which follows a gardener in East L.A. who struggles to keep his son away from gangs and immigration agents, found strong numbers in a limited debut. On four screens, Life managed a $60,000 gross, averaging a strong $15,000 per screen.
“Distributor Summit Entertainment noted that 92% of the audience rated the movie ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’, which bodes well as the film continues its platform release pattern over the coming weeks (including an expansion into 11 theaters on July 1).” — from Peter Knegt‘s 6.25 Indiewire box-office report.
Fine, except A Better Life is not “about a gardener in East L.A. who struggles to keep his son away from gangs and immigration agents.” It’s about an illegal-alien Mexican dad who lives in Echo Park and works as a tree surgeon in West LA homes who enlists his teenage son, who regards him with pity and contempt, to help him recover a stolen pickup truck. At the most the son has a flirting relationship with Hispanic gangbangers. It’s not about “son, what can I do or say to persuade you not o hang out with gangbangers….you’ll end up dead or in jail!” Tiresome much?
Weitz’s movie is nowhere near that kind of thing. A Better Life is basically The Bicycle Thief without the very last story beat that pluralizes the term and turns the title into The Bicycle Thieves.