Preteen girl looking at a cell phone with her parents

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Parents' Guide to


By Jennifer Green, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Dramatic deportment tale has mild language, violence.

Movie NR 2019 90 minutes
Collisions Poster Image

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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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