Cinematic Releases: Cesar Chavez

The Cesar Chavez "biopic" goes head to head with Noah this weekend. But is it any good?

"Yes. I would just like to ask
what I'm doing here and why
this movie is called a biopic?"
We can answer that question very simply. No. What should have been an elaborate movie about the legendary civil rights activist and labor movement leader turns out to be a flat, one dimensional movie that doesn't strive to provide nuance or back story. Instead of giving us intimate details about the life and times of Chavez, audiences are only privy to his time spent as a community organizer. There is no build up, no real character development, and the performances are reliant on a ham fisted script that needed major work. What made other biographical movies like Malcolm X so great is totally lacking here since we're never given a true sense of what made Cesar Chavez the man he was and what drove him to his life calling. 

Most of the issues in the movie are directly effected by the straight story about his fight to gain fair wages and practices for his followers. This should have been called Cesar Chavez and The Fight For Fair Wages because that's what this is really about. The movie doesn't spend any time on anything other than his family life and his struggle to fight for the union (which is fine), but it's not his life story by any means. I found this to be mildly off putting and not appropriate for a movie that was billed as his "biography". 

On another note, the movie looks great and is definitely accurate in its presentation of an era. But (once again), it struggles under the weightless script and acting that falls well below the standards that these name stars typically bring to the table. When your movie has John Malkovich as the main antagonist and he's not impressive in the least, you know your pictures has some major faults that must be repaired before releasing this made for tv quality of product. Yeah, I said it. So what?

"Wait! What did you say?
I'm not Mexican?
I wish someone would have told me!"
There might be people that read this review and say its because I have a problem with Chavez. You're wrong. I knew nearly nothing of the man before I saw this movie and I still know nearly nothing of the man after seeing this supposed biography piece. Maybe in a few years someone will properly adapt his LIFE story for the screen and audiences will be delighted to get a movie that doesn't beat around the bush and avoid any and all detail. Until then, I have better things to do and truly wish I could get this ninety minutes of my life back. I feel bad for Michael Pena and Rosario Dawson. They're much better than this.

-Chris George