A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Families take care of each other, despite hardships. Children need parent figures, no matter how grown-up or responsible they may seem. The current-day system for detaining and deporting immigrants is shown to be inhumane and full of injustices, both small and large.
Positive Role Models
Yoana clearly loves her children. Itan is responsible beyond her years, caring for her little brother and excelling at school (she's very smart and into STEM subjects). She selflessly puts her academic dreams aside to track down her detained mother and holds her irresponsible uncle accountable until he eventually changes his behavior and attitude. Evencio learns to love his nephew and niece, face past mistakes, and take responsibility for his family's future. ICE agents are shown to be largely cold-hearted bureaucrats, while CPS agents seem to mean well but make potentially damaging decisions.
Violence & Scariness
Yoana is pushed to the ground and down a hall by ICE agents, then later forced to sit and sleep on cold floors and denied her asthma medication. Kids are placed to live temporarily with an uncle they don't know who behaves in a hostile way. A man appears to be preying on Neto at a truck stop one night; the boy later disappears. Itan and her uncle have a fight, and she throws a mug and coffee pot at him.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Prostitutes knock on truckers' doors at night, and Evencio joins at least one. He has a sign in his truck that reads "Wake me up, I'm horny" on one side an "No lot lizards" with a drawing of a woman on the other. His home has a poster with women in bikinis.
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Infrequent but includes "holy crap" and "f--k."
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Products & Purchases
McDonald's, local San Francisco establishments, trucking company names.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Evencio drinks liquor and beer and smokes cigarettes and a joint. Itan tries a glass of liquor when Evencio isn't looking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Collisions is an intense drama about the impact of policies enforced by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Child Protective Services (CPS). These authority figures' insensitive treatment of young children and immigrant adults is upsetting and even frightening. Siblings must rely on a sketchy relative after their mother is detained. A middle schooler who has long acted as caretaker and surrogate mother for her younger brother puts her academic dreams on hold after her mother is detained. The responsibility weighs on her, especially when the boy disappears one night in a potentially upsetting scene at a truck stop where a man had earlier appeared to be preying on him. The children's uncle is a heavy drinker and smoker who frequents prostitutes, but nothing explicit is shown on screen. At one point, a middle schooler tries a small glass of liquor and appears to feel dizzy afterward. Language includes "crap" and "f--k." The movie portrays the current-day system for detaining and deporting immigrants as inhumane and full of injustice. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Donald Trump may not be mentioned by name in this film, but his administration's policies loom large in the background of this emotional dramatization of contemporary headlines. Collisions opens with the chilling statistic that a U.S. citizen child is separated from his or her parents by deportation every 4 minutes. That number may have provided the inspiration for the film's fictional family, but writer-director Richard Levien brings the characters to fuller life. They embody a range of realities of the immigrant experience, from the disconnect between different generations' attachment to their country of origin and its traditions, customs, and language, to the varied paths taken to achieve the "American Dream" (or fail in the attempt).
Levien also makes use of natural sound and light to infuse the fictional tale with an intentional realism. And young star Alvarez offers an earnest performance as an intelligent but frightened girl who's forced to grow up too soon. Well-known actor Garcia (Quinceañera) offers some of the film's most subtle moments as he bonds with his nephew and niece, faces the errors of his past, and takes on the mantle of family patriarch. The film's message and sympathies are abundantly clear; as a result, scenes with ICE and CPS representatives, some of whose faces symbolically aren't shown, can feel heavy-handed. But however you feel about the movie's politics, some of its powerful shots and sequences are likely to stick with you -- like a final drive through the border town of Tijuana that brings full circle the film's desire to show the human face of the immigration debate.
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