My Family/Mi familia (1995)

  • Year: 1995
  • Released: 03 May 1995
  • Country: United States
  • Adwords: Nominated for 1 Oscar. 3 wins & 5 nominations total
  • IMDb:
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  • Available in: 720p, 1080p,
  • Language: English, Spanish
  • MPA Rating: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Runtime: 128 min
  • Writer: Gregory Nava, Anna Thomas
  • Director: Gregory Nava
  • Cast: Jimmy Smits, Esai Morales, Edward James Olmos
  • Keywords: immigrant, marriage, family relationships, los angeles, california, family, death of wife,

My Family/Mi familia Storyline

This epic film traces over three generations an immigrant family’s trials, tragedies, and triumphs. Jose and Maria, the first generation, come to Los Angeles, meet, marry, and face deportation, all in the 1930s. They establish their family in East L.A., and their children Chucho, Paco, Memo, Irene, Toni, and Jimmy deal with youth culture and the L.A. police in the 1950s. As the second generation become adults in the 1960s, the focus shifts to Jimmy, his marriage to Salvadoran refugee Isabel, and his journey to becoming a responsible father to their son.—

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My Family/Mi familia Movie Reviews

‘My Family’

‘My Family’ is a compelling tale spanning three generations about a family of Mexican origin living in Los Angeles. It starts with the father of the family, Jose Sanchez (terrifically played by Jacob Vargas), making a one year journey on foot from Mexico to Los Angeles. Once there, he meets and marries the love of his life, Maria (Jennifer Lopez, in an interesting performance). After, Maria survives a tragic separation, she and Jose settle in Los Angeles and raise a family of six.

There is a tremendous amount of expectation here, namely because Francis Ford Coppola, who crafted arguably the most exhilarating family saga in the Godfather pictures, is an executive producer. But, My Family is nowhere near in the same league as films like ‘The Godfather’. Rather, ‘My Family’ turns out to be a great film that could have been better. One glaring flaw is in the script written by Gregory Nava and Anna Thomas is that too often, the script relies on tragedies to stir our emotions. Consequently, the emotion presented in the film feel fake at times. Particularly, in the scenes involving Jimmy attempting to bond with his only son, Carlitos.

Despite the missteps in the film, there are many positives to draw upon. The strong performances of the cast. Jimmy Smits, in particular, dominates the film with an intense and yet affecting performance. The film hardly ever succumbs to being a standard tear-jerker or phony. Instead, the film succeeds at creating a touching and provocative portrait of a family’s struggles and tribulations in a world that hardly seems just.

A great peek into Mexican life

Mexican culture has rarely been pictured in the Hollywood cinema (even though they we are the biggest minority in the country!), but this film probably rates as the best Mexican-themed film (until further notice). The evolution of the family’s house really makes this an interesting image in regards to the lives of the family. The intersecting lives of the family are all well thought out, even though it all seems rather convenient they all have these different personas and political aspirations. When I first watched this film, I thought it was one of the greatest movies of all time. Instead of portraying Mexicans as lazy, this film really encompassed the cultural aspects and fears of the common Mexican man. A great film to watch, even if you aren’t Mexican.

grand Latino opera

Paco (Edward James Olmos) recounts three generations of his Mexican-American family. His father José Sanchez walked to L.A. where he marries his mother Maria. During the Great Depression in 1933, Maria is forcibly deported despite being a citizen. She is pregnant and Chucho is born in Mexico. It took her two years to return. In the late 50s, the large family is starting to clash. José kicks out his rebellious son Chucho (Esai Morales) out of the home. Chucho gets into trouble and killed by the police. Paco served in the Navy. Twenty more years later, youngest son Jimmy (Jimmy Smits) gets out of prison for armed robbery. Daughter Toni has left the nunnery and married priest David Ronconi (Scott Bakula). They’re concerned about Salvadoran refugee Isabel.

The movie can feel a little rambling stretching out over such a long time period centering on the various characters. Each section has a compelling story. The first section is the epic journey for Jennifer Lopez. The second part is Esai Morales and the third is Jimmy Smits. Together, it paints a grand portrait of an American family.