Synopsis: Three undocumented teenagers, a Dominican girl, an African boy and a Peruvian girl, are about to graduate high school in the Bronx, while working with a teacher and a lawyer to try to get their papers to stay in the USA. Forced to grow up prematurely and navigate problems most adults don’t even have to face, they’re really just American teenagers who want to be with their friends, fall in love, and push back against authority.
Going into the film it was all too easy to think that we’d be treated to a saccharine tale of downtrodden youth who ultimately prevail in the face of adversity, and although we do get a small taste of this the film as a whole is able to set itself apart from the cliche’s due mostly to a subtle twist at the end that adds an heir of authenticity to the story. Not all stories have happy endings.
The movie avoids the potential pitfalls inherent in the tale by focusing on the emotional toll on each of these children as they take what the world is throwing at them, all while not knowing how much their world will be turned upside down if they are deported into countries that are truly foreign to them. America is the only home they’ve ever truly known, even if that home hasn’t always been stable.
The script is strong and the performances are convincing. All in all this is a film worth watching.