A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Wall of Mexico is an interesting but uneven dramedy/political allegory about a wealthy Mexican American family that's trying to protect a well of much-coveted water. Content is mature: Graphic sex scenes show a topless woman, a man's naked bottom thrusting, a second woman watching, and more. There's also extremely heavy drinking/drunkenness and hangovers. Characters smoke cigarettes and snort cocaine, and "black cocaine" is shown. Strong language includes "f--k," "s--t," "p---y," "bitch," and "ass," and there are middle-finger gestures and several dirty jokes, as well as racist remarks about Mexican Americans. Some guns are shown, a man is tased, and characters argue, shout, and threaten.
What's the story?
In THE WALL OF MEXICO, Don Taylor (Jackson Rathbone) lands a job as a handyman for the wealthy Mexican American Arista family, which is led by Henry (Esai Morales) and Monica Arista (Alex Meneses). Working under Michael (Xander Berkeley), Don becomes enthralled by the family's two smart, beautiful daughters, Tania (Marisol Sacramento) and Ximena (Carmela Zumbado), whose boredom leads them to spend hours tanning and then partying. Don manages to get himself invited to one party and finds himself seduced by Tania. At the same time, thieves have been stealing the family's precious well water, and the Aristas order Don to watch the well at night. The thieves return, and Henry orders a wall built around the well as Don finds himself too deeply involved.
Is it any good?
This unusual political allegory comes off a little heavy-handed and obvious, but the lush, honeyed cinematography balances the mood, and it emerges as an interesting, somewhat timely curiosity. The Wall of Mexico is pretty clearly the reverse of the idea of the United States building a wall along the Mexican border to keep the "have nots" away from the "haves." But the movie seems to have a hard time staying focused. Whenever Don goes into town for supplies, he hears racist remarks about the Aristas, which may be mixed up with jealousy about their wealth. And Mariel Hemingway shows up as the mayor to protest the Aristas' actions, but these moments don't really provide an interesting counterpoint to the allegory.
The plotline about the daughters also seems to go nowhere, simply offering a few moments of debauchery here and there. But there are some things that make The Wall of Mexico worth a look. Lyn Moncrief's clever cinematography does wonders to help tie things together, creating a dreamy look and feel, as if all that Champagne that Tania and Ximena drink was affecting the movie itself. It's also encouraging to see so many Latinx actors cast in nonstereotypical roles. Best of all is Morales, a great actor who made his mark in La Bamba and is deserving of a much more high-profile career.
Talk to your kids about ...
How is sex depicted here? What values are imparted? Is it about trust? Love? Power?
How does the story relate to real-life events?
How are Latinx characters represented? Did you notice any stereotypes?
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