A 3 Minute Hug

Movie review by
Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media
A 3 Minute Hug Movie Poster Image
Families separated by border reunite for brief hugs.
  • NR
  • 2019
  • 28 minutes

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

People are all the same. All people who are separated from their loved ones mourn their losses.  

Positive Role Models & Representations

Although some of the participants in this event may have been angry and sad after being separated for so long by political considerations, the huge gathering was peaceful, orderly, and calm, and an advertisement for love and the unbreakable bonds of family. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that A 3 Minute Hug is a documentary account of an unusual 2018 event allowing people on either side of the border between El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juarez in Mexico to cross under supervision and spend a few minutes with family members. Parents, kids, and other family members separated in some cases for years are reunited for a brief time in the hot sun, and hugs are the main method of celebration, mourning, and communication.    

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMrssrussell November 1, 2019

Wanted more

It was very heartbreaking but also sweet. It looked like some of the older Mexican adults were encouraging their young American family members. I really wanted... Continue reading
Adult Written byTeeEmmEmmCee November 1, 2019

Sweet, but pandering

It's wonderful to see people reunited, families that have been estranged for whatever reason. But this is pandering to the epidemic at the border, and it t... Continue reading

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What's the story?

A 3 MINUTE HUG is a documentary set at the U.S.-Mexico border where in May of 2018 separated families waited on either side to have a brief moment with loved ones not seen in many years. Haunting music accompanies this brief reconnection allowing husbands to hug wives, parents to hug children, and siblings and cousins to reconnect. Few words are included -- in Spanish with English subtitles -- allowing the forlorn faces, tears, and embraces to speak for themselves. At the film's end, the name of the group that organized the event is briefly displayed, The Border Network for Human Rights, a Texas-based organization advocating for immigration reform and tracking cases of immigrant abuse by the U.S. federal government.

Is it any good?

This bittersweet reunion documentary is sure to be a moving experience for families. Everardo Gonzalez, director of A 3 Minute Hug, wisely chose to stay out of the way of his subjects, who in their simple reunions provided more drama, pathos, laughter, and tears than most other movies of three times the length. The film beautifully captures the urgency, joy, and, ultimately, the sadness of these great displays of love and affection. Tears of joy give way to tears of loss as all parties but the smallest babies know they will go back to their respective sides and perhaps never see loved ones again.

Using no formal narrative, the film manages to convey that all people are the same. Members of the Latinx community are observed here, but they could just as easily be replaced with people grouped in other distinguishing categories -- by religion, ethnicity, language, skin color, sexual orientation, economic privilege -- and their actions and emotions would undoubtedly be identical.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why some countries seem to have tough immigration policies. Can you think of reasons such policies might exist?

  • Do you think there's a solution to the problem illustrated in A 3 Minute Hug, or do you think people have made choices and simply need to live with the consequences?

  • Why do you think people from poorer countries are willing to face danger and threats to their safety in order to come to the United States?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love documentaries

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