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||IMDB Rating: 7.1/10 from 4,354 votes
||Release: 12 April 2001 (Netherlands) /
||Director: Ken Loach,
||Stars: Adrien Brody, Beverly Reynolds, Elena Antonenko, Eloy Méndez, Elpidia Carrillo, Frankie Davila, Gigi Jackman, Jack McGee, Lillian Hurst, Maria Orellana, Mayron Payes, Melody Garrett, Monica Rivas, Olga Gorelik, Pilar Padilla
||Synopsis: Maya is a quick-witted young woman who comes over the Mexican border without papers and makes her way to the LA home of her older sister Rosa. Rosa gets Maya a job as a janitor: a non-union janitorial service has the contract, the foul-mouthed supervisor can fire workers on a whim, and the service-workers' union has assigned organizer Sam Shapiro to bring its "justice for janitors" campaign to the building. Sam finds Maya a willing listener, she's also attracted to him. Rosa resists, she has an ailing husband to consider. The workers try for public support; management intimidates workers to divide and conquer. Rosa and Maya as well as workers and management may be set to collide. Written by <email@example.com>
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Watch Bread and Roses - Alternative Versions.
In this movie, there are no purloined designer clothes to masquerade in,
Prince Charming doesn't come complete with a political career and a
three-piece suit--he's a scruffy charmer in a baggy t-shirt with little
to offer than a megaphone and a cause.
This is a film made by a director who has to be spiritual kin to Michael
Moore, but his subject matter is quite different. Here we see real
immigrants (both legal and illegal) being used rather cynically by
whose business plan includes hiring the most downtrodden and fearful and
hand-to-mouth in our country, paying them the lowest possible wages,
them absolutely no benefits whatsoever, and thereby winning contracts to
provide custodial and other services over companies that pay a fair and
living wage, plus benefits, to primarily unionized employees who are
American citizens. You know this really happens. It does. The best remedy
for the situation is certainly a matter for debate, but no matter what
political slant or position on labor unions and illegal immigrants, you
most definitely find food for thought herein.
OTOH, if you are also one of the drooling legions of newbie Adrien Brody
fangirls, you will find even more food for thought. Brody is painfully
in this movie-a piquant mixuture of earnest, funny, sincere, sweet, and
fiery, topped off with a kinghell case of `bedhead'.
The three central players are Pilar Padilla, as idealistic illegal
Maya, her overburdened sister Rosa, played by Elipidia Carillo, and Brody
Sam Shapiro, an organizer and activist for the cause. No fairy tale, this
movie, though a few of the cast are reasonably good-looking. The cast,
of whom really are janitors and custodians, are as real as it gets. You
see a lifetime of hard labor and long hours in their faces, and the slump
I really grew to like these struggling janitors and maids. None of them
"types"--they were all real people and their conflicts and concerns were
illuminated very well, despite limited screen time being available to
By treating these characters with respect and making them fully-fleshed
it made the passion of the organizers for this particular cause more
understandable, and not just as sometimes seems the case in some
a matter of someone who is bored or spoiled or has some sort of
guilt-complex trying to find their identity and using do-gooderism as a
means to that end. Through coming out from the shadows, and joining the
great and messy American experience of organized dissent, you could
practically see some of these characters changing into `Americans' before
your eyes, no matter what their official papers might say. Thinking like
Americans, standing up for their rights, making their voices heard.
how it's supposed to work-isn't it? Isn't it?
If there are caricatures in this movie, then those would be some of the
building administrators, but their screen time is so limited, and they are
usually so surprised and besieged by Sam Shapiro's stunts and protests
their lack of articulate or sympathetic response seems realistic enough to
me. But the one thing that stands out is more than anything else is the
absolutely natural acting style. Nobody really seems to be "acting" in
movie. It's as if there was a very unobtrusive documentary maker following
these folks around. The movie is, however, well-paced between scenes which
are rousing or charming, and those which are raw and painful.
Although this movie is not a love story or romance, per se, Adrien's
character does get some action in it. In fact, in one amusing scene, he is
literally hauled into a janitor's closet by an enterprising female (smart
girl!!) and snogged silly. One can but applaud that sort of enterprise and
initiative on the part of a recent arrival to this great country of ours.
That's the kind of can-do immigrant spirit that made this country great,
if I were there, I would be sure to tell her how much I admired that
in her, when I visited her in the hospital to apologize for having
accidentally whacked her out of the way with a long-handled mop.
But it can't all be funny and cute, and indeed, in this same section of
movie is a scene of such raw emotion, harsh language, honesty, and truth,
between the two Mexican sisters that I cannot say I have ever seen
like it. Even Ebert said in his review that it's the kind of scene that
would win an Oscar if the Academy ever saw movies like this, which of
course, they don't.
The ending is both feel-good triumphant, and bittersweet. I think that
an ending was very much in keeping with the tone and overall realism of
movie--yes, some things changed for the better, but for people like these,
not everyone gets that happy ending and lives happily ever after. At
not right away.
There's real passion here, on the part of everyone involved, and it feels
genuine, not manipulative. It's a pleasure to see a movie with good
production values and excellent acting which was made for a reason, not
to make money.
Tags for Bread and Roses Full Movie
, Beverly Reynolds
, Elena Antonenko
, Eloy Méndez
, Elpidia Carrillo
, Frankie Davila
, Gigi Jackman
, Jack McGee
, Lillian Hurst
, Maria Orellana
, Mayron Payes
, Melody Garrett
, Monica Rivas
, Olga Gorelik
, Pilar Padilla
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