Under the Same Moon

Movie review by
Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media
Under the Same Moon Movie Poster Image
Emotional immigration drama has mature themes.
  • PG-13
  • 2008
  • 106 minutes

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 9 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 4 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Mexicans cross into the U.S. illegally to escape economic hardship; Caucasian Americans are repeatedly selfish and cruel; a little boy is alternately aided by good-hearted adults and hassled by bullies or thieves.


Harrowing images of border crossing. Border guards chase illegal immigrants; INS authorities chase and grab illegal workers; a policeman beats an apparent criminal. Police drag away Enrique, pushing him against the cruiser and handcuffing him roughly. A child finds his grandmother dead in her bed and is very sad.


Several women wear sundresses or close-fitting tops that show cleavage. A pimp appears on the sidewalk with prostitutes (they wear skimpy outfits and high heels).


Words include "s--t" (with "bull-"), "hell," "son of a bitch," and "damn."


Brands include PopTarts, Walkman.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Cigarette smoking. A junkie character's arms show track marks, indicating past drug use. Bullies drink beer.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this drama has some mature and emotionally difficult themes. It revolves around a young boy who must deal with his grandmother's (peaceful) death and an illegal border crossing between Mexico and the United States. There are some brief images of obvious prostitutes, an abusive pimp, and a twitchy junkie. Expect some mild (though potentially upsetting) violence in the form of chases and rough takedowns by INS agents and local L.A. police. The central boy is also threatened by bullies, thieves, and a child trafficker. Mostly mild language, though "s--t" is used.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byTV-14-DLSV Teen Boy April 1, 2012

Under the same Moon is Cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Under the same Moon is a Cool but sad movie. But whats a coincidence is that The Main Character's name (The Boy) his name is Carlos (but they call him Car... Continue reading
Parent of a 9, 11, and 14-year-old Written byJoeSherer November 25, 2011

Must see!

Important themes, compelling story, wonderful acting, and a heartwarming movie for the family.
Teen, 17 years old Written byyaz_15 February 10, 2020

Enjoyable FIlm and emotional

I think this film is one of the good examples of what its like to be an Immigrant. This is a topic that tends to be heard a lot especially in the U.S and hones... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byHelen1511 June 19, 2019

THE BEST! And really appropriate, too.

The only reason I say 10+ is the film is intense and can be confusing,, it's really fine for any age unless you're kid is extremely sensitive. There... Continue reading

What's the story?

Rosario (Kate del Castillo) is hardworking and conscientious, but she's also an illegal immigrant, which means she has no recourse when her employer (Jacqueline Voltaire) decides to let her go. It's just one more roadblock for Rosario, who's been in Los Angeles for four years, hoping to bring over her 9-year-old son Carlitos (Adrian Alonso). UNDER THE SAME MOON follows both her efforts to gain legal status (she's tempted by the marriage offer of a very nice green-card holder) and Carlitos' attempts to reach her. After his grandmother's unexpected death leaves him alone in his small Mexican town, he undertakes a border crossing, hiding in the car of a couple of American students, including Marta (America Ferrera). He then finds himself alone and on the road, bothered by a junkie, a child-sex trafficker, border patrolmen, INS agents, and assorted other adults. At last he falls in with a hitchhiker, Enrique (Eugenio Derbez), who helps him find his long-lost father in Tucson, and afterward, get to L.A., where there are still more challenges to overcome.

Is it any good?

Despite the fact that it's directed with sincerity and compassion by Guadalajara-born Patricia Riggen, Under the Same Moon is weighed down by plot contrivances and simplistic life lessons. When Carlitos and Enrique take on a day-labor stint that ends with an INS raid, independent-minded Enrique tries to abandon his new buddy -- but finds himself drawn to the boy's helplessness, not to mention his big-eyed cuteness. They share rides, motel rooms, and work at a restaurant (where their antic back-and-forths reach a truly annoying pitch).

While Carlitos makes his way steadily mom-ward, Rosario grapples with her own set of daunting cliches. Rosario and best friend Alicia (Maya Zapata) worry daily about how to stay in the States. But even as they joke about their lack of options ("We should get a couple of gringos to marry us"), Rosario begins to think seriously about marrying for citizenship. Pursued by a very nice, very handsome security guard/green-card owner named Paco (Gabriel Porras), she resists because he's not "the one." For all her practical-minded focus on day-to-day living, Rosario remains a romantic, believing that true love will eventually save her. In another movie, such faith might seem a sustaining fiction or damaging delusion. But in Under the Same Moon, it's just the way the world works.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the movie portrays the plight of illegal immigrants in the United States. Do you think the movie is trying to make a specific point about the issue? If so, what is it? Is it OK that Carlitos and his mother are both breaking American laws? Why or why not?

Movie details

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