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Parents' Guide to

My Family (Mi Familia)

By Teresa Talerico, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Epic, dramatic tale of a Mexican-American family.

Movie R 1997 126 minutes
My Family (Mi Familia) Poster Image

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Is It Any Good?

Our review:
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Kids say (2 ):

This excellent movie explores the dynamics of Mexican-American families and culture in a way that's not often presented in mainstream cinema. It welcomes viewers inside this tight-knit clan with a mixture of drama and humor, tragedy and romance, and also examines issues familiar to immigrants and their families. (One recurring theme explores how José and Maria's first-generation children respond to the traditions, cultural values, and ideals of their parents.) Ultimately, however, it transcends its ethnicity and is simply a story about family.

Occasionally weighed down with melodrama, My Family (Mi Familia) is nonetheless moving and well-executed, with an epic, almost Godfatheresque feel. (Francis Ford Coppola had a hand in its production, and that influence shows, particularly in a wedding scene.) The eclectic soundtrack, which includes Mexican folk music, Los Lobos, and Pedro Infante, captures the film's spirit, and two key scenes use dancing to great effect: Chucho teaches a group of kids to mambo in a lively moment, and Isabel shows Jimmy how to dance in a scene that's unforgettable for its chemistry, its sheer joy, and the way Smits' character thaws before our eyes.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: May 3, 1997
  • On DVD or streaming: April 6, 2004
  • Cast: Jennifer Lopez , Jimmy Smits , Lupe Ontiveros
  • Director: Gregory Nava
  • Inclusion Information: Female actors, Latino actors
  • Studio: New Line
  • Genre: Drama
  • Run time: 126 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: strong language, some graphic violence and a scene of sexuality.
  • Last updated: December 2, 2022

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