Cesar Chavez is a film that spotlights the role of farm worker protectionist and civil rights activist Cesar Chavez. He was a man who joined the fight against rampant abuse of farm workers at the California farms and vineyards. He was dedicated to his causes and suffered at the front lines of those who marched and protested to get better contracts for the workers. Diego Luna has directed a film that emphasizes Chavez' valiant spirit and helps raise awareness of his good works.
Michael Pena stars in the film and he makes Chavez a man who is determined to right the wrongs against the workers. He does this by putting his life in jeopardy and by always being on the front line of the battle. Very few flaws are shown in Chavez' life so Pena gets the chance to glorify him while sticking to the script.
America Ferrara co-stars as Chavez' wife, Helen. She was right beside Cesar in all of his battles but as presented in the film this character isn't very exciting. Maybe it is because Ferrara looks so young, or that in past roles she has been too passive. There just is no spark in the performance.
Doing outstanding work is Michael Cudlitz who plays Sherriff Smith, the man deadly opposed to letting the workers exercise their rights. Cudlitz gives this man just the right amount of arrogance and ignorance. Also standing out in the film is Jack Holmes as Bobby Kennedy. He captures Kennedy's look, accent and manner. Although it is not a large role in the film, it is one that demands notice.
One major flaw in the film is that the audience is dropped into the story of Chavez' life without much background. The film starts with him being an adult and ready to get right into the midst of things. There is no explanation of why he is so involved or why he is so concerned. He just is, and we go from there.
Also a lot of time is spent on Chavez' relationship with his oldest son. The relationship is never resolved and its purpose in the film is never fully understood. Plus his relationship with his other seven children is glossed over entirely.
The film is rated PG-13 for profanity and violence.
Cesar Chavez is an important film about a man who changed the history of this country. He sacrificed much for the good of others and deserves to have the spotlight of history shine on him. This movie does just that.
I scored Cesar Chavez a striking 6 out of 10.
Jackie K Cooper, www.jackiekcooper.com
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