La Mission Analysis
Lisa, Aubrey, and Kendra
Comm 100A: Mass Media & Society
The Pennsylvania State University
Summer Session – July 30, 2014
The movie we chose was La Mission which was a drama film that premiered in 2009. It took place in a Mexican, urban community. The main goal of the movie was to show how a single norm is broken in a family and how much it affects the image of the family within the community. The purpose of this paper is to explain how the Latino culture was shown in the movie but how it wasn’t the sole motive of La Mission.
The movie La Mission took place in 2009, when the movie came out, and is the subject of this analysis paper.
Che Rivera lives in the Mission District of San Francisco, where life is not always easy. Che is a powerful man and is well respected in his community because he has lived there for over twenty years. He is a recovering alcoholic, but is known for his masculinity, strength, talent and passion for building and repairing low-rider cars. Che has worked hard to raise his son, Jes, on his own after his wife passed away. When Che discovers that his son is gay, he reacts violently by fighting him on the sidewalk, resulting everyone around to know Jes’s secret. Che loves his son, but hates homosexuality more, and ends up kicking his son out of his house. Che is not the only one who cannot accept homosexuality; it is the entire culture of the Mexican community portrayed in the film that reacts in an extremely uncomfortable and alienating way to Jes’s secret. Jes ends up staying with his boyfriend’s family after his father refused to see him again. He soon graduated and went to college at UCLA. The film ends by showing a possible change in heart from Che and his decision to go visit his son at college.
We believed that the Latino stereotype they were attempting to portray wasn’t racist at all, it wasn’t necessarily stereotypical. When the dad, Che, finds out his son Jes was gay the way in which he reacted could have been the same way any father would react when finding out his son was gay. The movie had a lot of Latino culture throughout but the same plot could have happened with any race/ethnicity it wasn’t a Latino plot, just had that ethnicity dominate the characters.
We did see some scenes throughout the movie that seemed like it was something that is a stereotype of Latinos do. For example, most of the young Latino men in the film dressed the same with dark baggy clothes. Almost all of the men had mustaches and visible tattoos/piercings. The community that they were in seemed to all be very interesting in cars and detail work. Also, the Latino community they were in all were very religious and it was shown throughout the whole movie.
There were some differences in the making of the film compared to a typical mainstream film targeted towards a white audience. The music in the background of scenes was affiliated more with the Mexican culture. The community they lived in consisted of many different occurrences of Mexican culture and the religion affiliate themselves with. The house they resided in had a lot of Mexican decorations and was dominated by bright, vivid colors.
While watching the movie we didn’t necessarily think it was that intriguing of a film. The movie did portray issues that are very important but the plot seemed a little slow to us. It seemed to reach a lot of people by expressing on issues like homosexuality, Latino ethnicity, alcoholism, single-parent home, and violence. Since it did reach so many different outlets it would seem like a more compelling film, but we didn’t think they did a very good job making it engaging.