Elpidia Carrillo shines in Bread and Roses.
Russell Fanelli | Longmeadow, MA USA | 01/24/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Bread and Roses shows us the world of the illegal immigrants in Los Angeles who clean buildings for sub-standard wages and no benefits. Life is a daily stuggle to pay the bills and put food on the table. These poor people live in fear that they will be fired without cause and turned into beggars. Often enough their worst fears are realized. They watch helplessly as their friends are demeaned, mistreated, and thrown out on the street.A union organizer,Sam, capably played by Adrien Brody, tries to organize these frightened and abused people. He meets Maya, Pilar Padilla, who works as a janitor in an office building thanks to help she received from her sister Rosa, wonderfully played by Elpidia Carrillo. Maya has recently been smuggled into Los Angeles by "coyotes," men who take advantage of poor Mexicans who want a chance at the good life in America. She still has her hopes and idealism intact and argues with her sister to help Sam deliver his message to all the janitors at the building where they work.Rosa has lost her idealism and much of her hope years ago. She stuggles to pay her bills, support a sick husband, and maintain her health and sanity, both of which she is in danger of losing. In the most moving scene of this film, or any other the viewer is likely to see anytime soon, Rosa explains to Maya how she has had to degrade herself to live and support her family. She is a good person who has prostituted herself to survive. Her description of the years she has submitted to the beastial behavior of the animals who prey on the weak and powerless women who want nothing more than bread to eat and a roof over their head will not soon be forgotten by any sensitive viewer.For Sam and the union, bread is a start, but they also want roses for the people who clean up after us day after day. The message of this film is a compelling one. Director Ken Loach always keeps his eyes on this main theme -- justice for the underpriviledged in our society. He shows us the humanity of the real people who struggle each day to make a living, often without losing their dignity and sense of humor.The entire cast turns in solid performances, but it is Elpidia Carrillo who shines above the rest. She deserved an Academy Award nomination for her startling performance. Her work in Bread and Roses is reason enough for me to recommend this film."
I never cry, but...
Meg | Chicago, IL United States | 05/22/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I never cry. I'm often very moved, particularly with social causes and injustices, but I rarely cry. This film had me sobbing. It's incredible. I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone. love and solidarity!"
Not a Victim
Victoria A. Grossack | Switzerland | 05/12/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The movie was a delight to watch, about a young woman who thinks quickly, who has high spirits, who refuses to be a victim. She realizes that you can't wait for good things to happen; you have to make them happen. (I suppose this is a characteristic of many immigrants.) The setting is well done, the photography excellent, and the ending both bittersweet and a triumph. And the movie makes you think, what steps you would take to survive, to help others, to better your condition in life. I'm also glad that I have always made a point of speaking to the woman who cleans in my area of my office building!"