I’m a sucker for movies inspired by actual events. But I don’t think any film has moved me quite like Disney’s McFarland, USA, has.
There are a lot of reasons for this: One is I used to live near McFarland. I’ve often driven past those cotton and vegetable fields, orchards and vineyards planted along California’s State Route 99. Fields where, at times from before sunrise and sometimes after sunset, workers, many of them parents, are visible picking fruit, vegetables and nuts, in temperatures that can reach in excess of 115F on late summer afternoons. It’s no picnic out there, except for those of us who get to enjoy the fruits of their labor on our dinner tables each day.
The film’s director, Niki Caro, said in an interview,“… said something that I’m so moved by and I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Which is that there is nothing more American than parents wanting more for their children.”
Another reason it moved me is I come from a close knit Mexican family like those portrayed in this film. It’s just a relief, really, to see Latinos portrayed in a film in the way I know the majority of us to be, dedicated to family, full of courage, optimism, heart and strength.
McFarland,USA, is based on a true story about a small farming town in California’s Central Valley, where usually nothing new happens. But then, a very special group of young people fight hard to overcome their own fears, long odds, difficult circumstances and even their own families’ fears to achieve something amazing.
As star Kevin Costner put it so well, “When you make someone feel like they belong…they start to feel like giants.” And boy did they!
Why you have to watch McFarland, USA.
McFarland, USA, is a real, honest story, and represents human nature at its best. And it’s a true American story. There are thousands of McFarland’s spread across our country, so it has something to say to all of us. Niki Caro said, “What I didn’t anticipate having finished the movie and as I look at the movie now — we’ve made a profoundly American film. And that’s amazing to me. It really is …it so happens that 99 percent of the people in the movie are Mexican American. But it is — it’s an American film.”
It’s a story of hope, a story of success against all odds. It’s emotional, it’s funny, it’s colorful. It will make you feel good, it will make you feel a little scared at moments, it will make you cry, it will make you cheer, and it will change you somehow.
Above all, it’s about family, perseverance, teamwork, unity, hope and working hard and sticking to it! It’s a treat!
Music by Juanes
Of course, it never hurts to have a great song by Juanes in your film, check it out! (If you are reading this post by email and can’t see the video, just click on the link to this post at the top of your email to go to my blog to see it, thanks!)
Go to the movies, take your family, I’m going again!