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Collisions (A Movie Review)

Updated: Feb 19, 2020



Starring Jesse Garcia, Izabella Alvarez, Ana de la Reguera, Jason Garcia Jr., Rika Luna, Cianya Cortes, Suilma Rodriguez, Molly Noble, Rodrigo Duarte Clark, Molly Brady, Joey Hoeber, Duane Lawrence, John Flanagan, Thomas Cokenias, Christopher Gonzales, Tina Marie Murray, Mike Schaeffer, Sarah Kramer, Veronica Valencia, Maegan Cunningham, Johnny Gilligan and Carolé Acuña.

Screenplay by Richard Levien.

Directed by Richard Levien.

Distributed by Widdershins Film. 82 minutes. Not Rated.

Collisions is certainly a very timely film.

As the chyron which opens the movie says, “Every four minutes, a US citizen child is separated from a parent by deportation.”

Not just undocumented immigrants mind you. These kids are US citizens who are turned into orphans because their parents don’t have the correct papers.

Most of those people are not – as some asshole said – “Bringing drugs, bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some of them, I assume, are good people.”

Many – if not most – of them are good people. They work multiple jobs, mostly ones we don’t want to do. They are looking for a better life for their families. They keep their heads down and mostly don’t commit crimes, because they don’t want the attention. They live under the constant danger of having their entire world upended at any given moment, with no warning.

Collisions tells one of those stories.

It is the story of Itan (Izabella Alvarez), an older-than-her-years twelve-year-old girl who is a US citizen, though her mother is not. (There father died years earlier) Since mom has four jobs, it mostly falls upon Itan to care for her younger brother Neto (Jason Garcia Jr.).

One day, she and Neto come home from school to find their mother gone and the apartment ransacked. Mother Yoana (Ana de la Reguera) has been taken in by ICE and is being processed for deportation. The kids have no idea where she is being held (ICE will not let Yoana call her children to tell them she is okay) or how to stop the process.

In desperation, they contact their estranged uncle Evencio (Jesse Garcia). The children (and their mother) haven’t seen him in six years. He is an alcoholic, irresponsible long-distance trucker, but he is the only adult they know. Not that he makes it easy, while he knows his way around the system, he seems somewhat indifferent to his sister, the kids and their quandary.

Eventually, Itan is able to get his help only by bribing him with $1,000 dollars from her college fund. From here, Collisions becomes something of a road movie, with the children and their uncle traveling the country in his big rig looking for their mother, coming to understand and trust each other and care for each other – somewhat, though Evencio often lives down to Itan’s expectations.

I get that immigration is a complicated thing. Undocumented immigrants are here for all sorts of reasons. Some try to get legal citizenship; some just try to blend in with the crowd. They pay taxes. They don’t vote. Their very lack of citizenship is a burden.

And, despite what some politicians may tell us, undocumented immigration was at a low point before the current administration decided to fan the flames for political gain.

Collisions is just one of a series of terrific films on the subject in the past decade or so – also check out A Better Life and The Visitor.

Collisions takes what may be a slightly more black and white view on the subject than those other two more nuanced films. Perhaps in a time when people are being housed in cages and children are being separated from their parents forever, we don’t always need to shade things as much.

Collisions is a sweet but sad story, putting a family in a position where most of their choices are difficult and somewhat tragic. The most horrifying part is that it is happening to families all over the country right now.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2019 All rights reserved. Posted: October 4, 2019.

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