My Family (Mi Familia)

BB.5

(out of 5)


Multiple generations of a Latino-American family in California are narrated in this middling saga by Gregory Nava (El Norte).  is the standout in the cast (and sadly the most underused) as a writer who tells us about his relatives, starting with his father who as a young man crossed the border into the United States and raised a family with his young wife (played in her early years by a then-unknown ). The film moves to the fifties as their children grow up, with teenager  the young troublemaker with the stylish dance moves who can’t keep out of trouble with the law, much to the exasperation of his parents. Twenty years later we catch up with little brother , whose frustrations with the poverty and oppression that have marked his family up until this point have turned him into a lawbreaking ball of furious rage who is given the opportunity to reform his ways and heal his emotional wounds but isn’t sure if he can take it. Nava puts a lot of sincerity into every scene of this forgettable film, but the characters are rarely compelling and the situations they find themselves are regrettably melodramatic. Perhaps if the operatic tragedy was interrupted by some notable humour it would be a more stylish experience, but sadly it is merely a collection of familiar cliches brought to a higher level only by Ed Lachman’s beautiful photography and the strong performances. You get the feeling that everyone was so impressed with themselves for contributing to an all-Latino movie that they forgot to actually make a good one. Have some Tortilla Soup instead; it’s got much better dialogue and doesn’t rely on the stereotype of tight, ignorant white people for its lighter moments.


American Playhouse, American Zoetrope, Majestic Films International, Newcomb Productions

USA, 1995

Directed by

Screenplay by Gregory Nava,

Cinematography by

Produced by

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by

Academy Awards 1995

Independent Spirit Awards 1995.

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