This country needs another Cesar Chavez (by larazafour)
This movie was as accurate and as realistic as it could be when packing many years of struggle into 100 minutes. There are many lessons to be learned from La Causa. I just hope that young people see it, learn from it and connect it to today's struggles.Some uninformed people may feel that Michael Pena's acting is weak..that couldn't be further from the truth. Pena portrayed Cesar the way he was...soft-spoken and undramatic. That was the amazing thing.. Cesar Chavez was driven by his passion for justice. He was not a politician. He was not an eloquent public speaker. Yet he <more>
inspired millions to boycott, march, strike, struggle because his cause was so moral, so real, so grass roots.
Hollywood Critics have it all wrong.. (by goodfella879)
Firstly, I disagree with the external critic reviews that bring the overall rating of the film down very much. Unfortunately, these are the criticisms that will keep Hollywood from investing in future endeavors that symbolize the Latino/Social Justice/Consciousness-Inducing narratives that the public desperately needs. I work in the immigrant social justice movement and I work closely with a lot of farm worker justice orgs, including Chavez's UFW. I understand that there are contexts missing and that there were a lot of things at stake during that particular movement, but I'm more <more>
aware of the fact that it would be hard for the general public and the folks that really need to go and watch this film to understand the greater context and be moved by the politics that plagued the social advocates and continue to plague our movement today. I also took my Spanish-speaking, first generation immigrant family to watch this film. They are not involved in any of my work but some of them have worked on the fields as guest workers, etc. I was glad to see that they were moved and even brought to tears by the simplicity of the film and that they appreciated that someone was acknowledging their struggle. At the end of the day, the film was entertaining, well acted, and it served its purpose to educate and inspire people like my family.
Director Diego Luna's picture does more than recount historic events or an epic period in our nation's history. It is more than a moving—and true—David versus Goliath story.Cesar Chavez the film does portray the classic battle between farm workers and one of California's richest industries. But it also captures the personal hardships and sacrifices made by Cesar and his family, and by so many other families.And it captures the spirit and humanity and complexity of a man who, in Cesar's words, taught ordinary people to do extraordinary things—and in so doing inspired <more>
millions of others from all walks of life to social and political activism.
Excellent Biopic on an important Civil Rights and Labor Leader (by JustCuriosity)
Cesar Chavez was very warmly received during its North American Premiere at Austin's SXSW Film where it won one of the audience awards. Director Diego Luna has done an excellent job in bringing this important and often poorly understood civil right and labor leader to life for a new generation. Michael Pena delivers his best acting performance to date as he really seems to capture the essence of Chavez. The film is reminiscent of other films about leading social organizers such as Milk which is also set in California in about the same time period. The film focuses on the major events of <more>
his organizing including the boycott of grapes which eventually forced the grape growers to reach an agreement with the United Farm Workers UFW . The film also emphasizes his dedication to the cause of non-violence and his efforts to work across ethnic lines. While all such films are imperfect vehicles for encapsulating an individual's life, I felt this one did solid job of capturing the spirit of Cesar Chavez. It also showed the difficulties his work caused for his family. I think this film could be very valuable as an educational tool for teaching young people about the legacy of Cesar Chavez. I hope that it is gains some popularity with mainstream audiences.
the real story, not a Hollywood package. I wish it were longer (by fishfeet-831-826480)
This movie covers so much really intense stuff, so quickly, it's almost hard to sink your teeth into. It's a great way to get a quick and easy understanding of the real events that happened in California and how Cesar came to play such an important role. I wish the film had actually been longer, with more time to develop the depth of characters and the layers of issues. But just like Chavez was in life -- a humble man who didn't want all the attention on himself -- this movie is also like that. It's a humble movie with no big stars, and it doesn't try to be big and <more>
glamorous or spectacular. It just tries to tell what happened. And the facts are more interesting than anything Hollywood could add. So some have criticized it for feeling too much like a documentary, but that's what I really liked about it. It felt like it was just what happened, and not some big Hollywood version of it. I would have just liked to have lingered in the smallness of it longer. And I wish they went on to tell about the rest of the life of this amazing, unlikely, understated hero. I hope for a sequel, or another go at it that captures more of the spirit of the man and the movement, as well as the events. But definitely see this one!
I've seen some pro critics call this film boring, and although it might have had 1 or 2 slow spots, I found it overall to be a powerful biopic of the iconic union organizer and civil rights advocate Cesar Chavez.Michael Pena gives a fine performance as Chavez here, as the movie focuses on his early days as a farm worker organizer, in the 1960's in California, to his eventual negotiations with the powerful farm growers of the time. America Ferrera also ably portrays Chavez's wife Helen, who is equally dedicated to their cause. Additionally, there's a strong supporting cast <more>
which includes Rosario Dawson, John Malkovich, Jacob Vargas, and John Ortiz.The biopic intersperses well actual film footage of the time, but we only get a glimpse of the real Chavez, who died in 1993 at the age of 66, towards the end of the movie. I thought the film portrayed well the conflicts and tensions you would expect between the farm workers and the powerful growers, the police, and certain politicians.During an effective grape boycott called by Chavez and his supporters, then Governor Ronald Reagan is shown publicly eating grapes and calling the boycott "immoral". Also, President Richard Nixon tried to influence the export of grapes to European markets to help the growers, but strong European unions in support of Chavez crushed that idea.To editorialize a bit here, I find it so ironic that some 50 years later, we seem to be fighting the same battles that Chavez fought, with the rights of unions to organize and collectively bargain. While it is true that along the way some unions got greedy and went too far in their demands, I think that history has clearly shown that many corporations left to their own devices will squeeze their workers in pay and benefits unless there's some push back from organizations like unions.Overall, I thought this movie was very well presented by director Diego Luna and screenwriters Keir Pearson and Timothy J. Sexton. It's an important story that remains, as mentioned, so timely to this day.
Not only is the movie very well made and acted it is also inspiring and is one of the better biopics of the last few years. (by cosmo_tiger)
"If we show the world their abuse, greed and brutality then our voice will be heard and responded to." After being raised and working in the fields since he was 8 Cesar Chavez Peña has seen enough of the abuse of the workers. After realizing nothing was going to change on its own he decides to step up and become a leader. His goal is to form a union and get every worker an honest wage. What seems like an easy thing to do is met with resistance from almost everyone. His non-violent protests slowly begin to become embraced by not only his fellow workers but American citizens as <more>
well. Going in to this movie I knew next to nothing about the real man. My favorite genre of movie is the biopic, it's almost better for me to not know as much about the person that way not only am I not expecting anything but I am also not disappointed when they leave things out. I say all that because I can't speak to how accurate the movie is but what I can say is that I really enjoyed this. Not only is the movie very well made and acted it is also inspiring and you really become angry watching what the company he is protesting against does to discredit and discount his stance. Again I can't speak to how accurate the movie is but what the movie does do is inspire and make you wonder why the corporate heads waited so long to even talk to him. That said it also makes you wonder if this happened today if the reactions would be the same. Without getting too political my guess would be yes. Corporate greed never goes away, it only grows. Overall, a great and inspiring movie that is one of the better biopics of the last few years. I give this a high B+.
Superb Biopic of Great American Labor Leader (by michael_the_nermal)
Some reviewers do not like that the actor playing Chavez plays him as a rather bland everyman as opposed to a great and charismatic leader. Truth be told, this portrayal doesn't bother me. Chavez's skills as a labor organizer come more from dogged determination and perseverance in the face of overwhelming odds, as opposed to a strong, magnetic personality. Chavez's strengths, as shown in the movie, is that the man simply did not give up in the face of injustice. I think the way Chavez was portrayed did justice to one of the most famous labor leaders in American history. The <more>
filmmakers do an excellent job in making the injustices migrant farm workers went through palpable. There is little romanticization of Chavez the man or the United Farm Workers, and the film is commendable for showing that his methods were controversial. For example, his holier-than-thou approach with the rank-and-file in the fields did cause inter-union conflict, and his apparently noble aim of using nonviolence as a tool for labor is not completely unquestionable, especially in the face of violent opposition from the growers. The film is limited in scope and straightforward in the way it presents its narrative, which focuses on Chavez's most famous fight, the Delano Grape Strike and Boycott. The audience is seldom lost, and gets a pretty good understanding of how the events played through.Pluses include that the film does at least show that the United Farm Workers was a multi-ethnic union, in that it included both Hispanic and Filipino laborers, and that both were equally responsible for leading the fight against the growers one scene shows the flag of the Philippines across from the Mexican flag . The film does devote equal time between the farmworkers and the growers, and shows that the growers, too, could find strength in union---although this plot seems rather undeveloped. John Malkovich does a superb job as a grower determined to fight to the bitter end. Chavez is portrayed not as a messianic figure or even a larger-than-life man like Abraham Lincoln, but as a simple union activist who had as his main life's goal justice for the working man. Nothing in this film is "epic"; it is really a simple story told well. "Cesar Chavez" most closely resembles another movie about the struggle between workers and their employers: "Matewan", by John Sayles. Both films are raw in depicting the fight between unions and employers; unlike "Matewan," "Cesar Chavez" does not feel as bleak, and, for those who enjoy large doses of cynicism in their movies, will be disappointed with the latter film, as it is far more hopeful in its tone.This film is not without its flaws. I would have loved to have seen at least fifteen minutes devoted to Cesar Chavez's back-story as a union leader: how did he get into leading unions? Why did he feel the need to devote his life to migrant workers? How did he meet fellow union activists like Dolores Huerta? This could all have helped in fleshing out his character before we got to the main plot. The two minutes or less of exposition at the beginning was not sufficient as backstory. The film tries to balance its depiction of Chavez the labor leader with Chavez the family man. His turbulent relationship with his son is fairly undeveloped: the film could have benefited by spending more time on this subplot, or significantly less. As it stands, the subplot with the son who has problems with an uncommunicative father and with bigotry is rather choppily presented. There are also claims that the film is not true to history, particularly with the way Filipino members of the UFW have been seemingly relegated the background. I didn't think this was apparent, but it might have behooved filmmakers to have devoted a bit more time to the Filipino contribution to story of the Delano Strike and Boycott, particularly if they had any conflict with Chavez's methods. Lastly, this film, like the arguably better "Matewan", is highly polemic. The movie blatantly takes sides with who's "good" and who's "bad" on the political spectrum. Conservative viewers, who may like Chavez's lack of radicalism and his devotion to religion, will not like the persons this movie presents as "villains" albeit unseen villains, except in historical newsreel footage .In all, the film is a well-done story about an important part of American history. I highly recommend it. For comparison, watch "Matewan" on Netflix to get a better view of how American labor history is depicted on film.
Having just seen the movie and having met the man many years ago,I can say that the film was better than most of the reviews I have read. This was a very humble man that saw an injustice and corrected it. He didn't line his own pockets like most Union Leaders have. I would have preferred to see more of his upbringing so that we know who influenced him the most. Nonetheless, this film docudrama should be required viewing in public schools throughout California and other states where farm workers supply our nation and the world with much of our produce. A must see movie if you want to <more>
understand what the migrant workers were up against in the 60's and 70's.