El Norte
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"When will we find a home?" Rosa asks her brother Enrique at the end of their long journey. Alone in a strange land, they have only each other. The search for roots and the importance of family inform Gregory Nava's and Anna Thomas's lyrical and emotionally powerful El Norte, just as they will the filmmakers' later My Family, which showed at Sundance in 1995. One of the first films to portray faithfully the plight of Central American political refugees, El Norte is a remarkable fusion of documentary realism and visual poetry. When their father is killed and their mother… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 84%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"From the very first moments of El Norte, we know that we are in the hands of a great movie."
‑ Roger Ebert, RogerEbert.com
"Though his subject is a serious one and his intentions are apparently noble, Nava has made a film that is essentially indistinguishable from Love Story."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"A sobering glimpse of reality, that's also an irresistibly involving drama."
‑ David Parkinson, Radio Times
"In El Norte's defense, it does not, unlike those contemporary films, filter its view of an ethnic subculture through the eyes of a white protagonist."
‑ Matt Noller, Slant Magazine
"The subject of illegal immigration is honorable and relevant, but the film also shows Nava's weaknesses as a filmmaker, specifically his penchant for overwrought narratives and melodramatic (borderline soap opera) style."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"It is beautifully lensed and comes across as a kind of giant Renaissance canvas."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"It's heartening to see this non-Hollywood production finding a solid niche in the commercial movie circuit."
‑ David Sterritt, Christian Science Monitor
"The result is a disturbing movie about hope and disappointment."
‑ , People Magazine
"On the surface El Norte is the essence of simplicity. But in 1983, the simple story was both news to many and history to many others finally seeing their story depicted on screen on their terms. [Blu-ray]"
‑ Peter Canavese, Groucho Reviews
"A tale of adventure and courage."
‑ , Film4
"El Norte is not exactly a great film, but it's a very good one that, through the devices of fiction, manages to provoke a number of healthily contradictory feelings about the world we all inhabit at the moment."
‑ Vincent Canby, New York Times
"Splendid on nearly every level."
‑ Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
"Good intentions arent enough to compensate for bad editing, acting and writing."
‑ Christopher Long, Movie Metropolis
"the definitive portrait of the experience of undocumented Latin-American workers in the United States"
‑ Jay Antani, Filmcritic.com
"The film has a political message, but it is a subtle and compelling one that allows situations and characters to speak for themselves."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
More reviews for El Norte on Rotten Tomatoes

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