My Family

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2 1/2

Content: -2 1/2

Paco Sanchez (Edward James Olmos) tells the story of his family, beginning with his father's (Jose) walk from Mexico to Los Angeles in the 1920s. Jose (Eduardo Lopez Rojas) meets and marries Maria (Elpidia Carrillo), in East Los Angeles. While pregnant with their third child, Maria is deported. After Chucho (Esai Morales) is born, Maria walks back from Mexico to LA with her infant son. Chucho grows up to be a gang leader in the '50s and is eventually shot by the police. His youngest brother, Jimmy (Jimmy Smits), sees the shooting and turns into an angry trouble maker, doing prison time for robbery. After his release, he marries a Salvadoran political refugee to save her from deportation. A marriage of convenience leads to love. When his wife dies in childbirth, Jimmy reacts in anger and is sent to prison again. But when Jimmy returns home, will his son accept a father he's never seen? An absorbing story of family ties in the barrios of East LA, this film is laced with humor, sadness, anger and love.

The strong religious ties of the Hispanic culture to the Catholic church are particularly reflected in Maria and Jose's faith in God. Belief in family values, loving relationships and the sanctity of marriage are evident as well. The film also captures pieces of Hispanic legends and superstitions. As Maria and Chucho nearly drown in a river crossing, Maria is told that the “Spirit of the River” wants Chucho, and an owl visible in daytime, an omen of death, is seen before Chucho is shot. Some graphic violent scenes include a closeup of Chucho's death by gunshots to his head. Another time the camera takes the victim's viewpoint as a shotgun is fired without showing the victim. Sadly, the dialogue has many obscenities and profanities, both English and Spanish. A brief scene shows intercourse between Paco's sister and her husband. A bedroom scene with Jimmy and his wife includes breast nudity and implied intercourse. This otherwise strong family film with many good messages, regretfully, cannot be recommended.

Preview Reviewer: Paul Bicking
NewLine Cinema, 575 8th Ave., 16th Flr, NY, NY 10018

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Several (8) times - Mild 3, Moderate 5

Obscene Language: Many (34) times (f-word 20, s-word 11, other 3, plus numerous Spanish obscenities)

Profanity: Many (11) times - Regular 6 (GD,J,C), Exclamatory 5

Violence: Moderate and Severe (shotgun seen from victim's view; baby and mother almost drown; slaps, wrestling, knife stab; close-up of head shot, hit with police baton, hand cut breaking glass)

Sex: Once; implied once with breast nudity (married couples)

Nudity: Twice (breast nudity; male rear-child)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few times (sensual dancing, kissing)

Drugs: Alcohol, cigarettes, reference to selling marijuana

Other: Urination sounds; bloody baby at childbirth; body in morgue; superstitions of Hispanic culture; strong Catholic faith expressed)

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Adults

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