Under the Same Moon

Rated 3.0

When his grandmother-guardian dies suddenly, a 9-year-old Mexican boy (Adrian Alonso) sets out across the northern border to join his mother (Kate del Castillo), who has been working illegally in Los Angeles and sending money home for five years; he knows he has only a week to find her, before her weekly phone call to him goes unanswered. Ligiah Villalobos’ script has more than a dash of Oliver Twist—including an over-reliance on Dickensian coincidence—and Patricia Riggen’s direction at best is, shall we say, well-intended. What makes the movie work is the primal mother-son bond and the performance of young Alonso (actually 12 during filming, but looking younger), who carries the movie with effortless aplomb. Eugenio Derbez is also good as an irascible migrant worker who reluctantly befriends the boy.