Cesar Chavez

Rated PG-13 101 minutes 2014

Michael Peña (Crash) gives his best performance in Cesar Chavez, playing the legendary activist during his work on behalf of struggling farm workers. Unfortunately, the film is largely mediocre otherwise. A nice turn by John Malkovich gives it a little extra push, but beyond that, it’s fairly rote biopic fare. Still, for those who are unfamiliar with Chavez’ story, it’s a nice place to start, providing an overview of the man’s life and actions, as well as the conditions of migrant workers throughout the United States during the late 1960s and early 1970s. If there’s a really unfortunate thing about the movie, it’s that it just doesn’t go far enough, more or less defining Chavez by this one cause. And while it presents that case convincingly, there’s a lot more to say and probably a sturdier film to be made by including it.

Film Credits

Director: Diego Luna

Producer: Pablo Cruz, Diego Luna, Lawrence Meli, Keir Pearson, Emilio Jean, Haim Saban, Jeff Skoll, Jonathan King, Lianne Halfon, John Malkovich, Russell Smith, Gael García Bernal, Julian Levin and Rebecca O'Brien

Cast: Michael Peña, America Ferrera, Rosario Dawson, John Malkovich, Eli Vargas, Jack Holmes, Kevin Dunn, Michael Cudlitz, Jacob Vargas, Mark Moses, Lisa Brenner, Yancey Arias and Spencer Garrett

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