# Similar Movies Like Bread and Roses
Bread and Roses 2000
Description: Maya is a quick-witted young girl who comes over the Mexican border without papers and makes her method to the LA home of her older sister Rosa. Rosa gets Maya a job as a janitor: a non-union janitorial service has the contract, the foul-mouthed supervisor can fire workers on a whim, and the service-workers' union has assigned organizer Sam Shapiro to bring its "justice for janitors" campaign to the building. Sam finds Maya a willing listener, she's also attracted to him. Rosa resists, she has an ailing husband to consider. The workers test for public support; management intimidates workers to divide and conquer. Rosa and Maya as well as workers and management may be set to collide.
Released: 25 Oct 2000 Director: Ken Loach Writers: Paul Laverty (screenplay) Actors: Pilar Padilla, Adrien Brody, Elpidia Carrillo, Jack McGee Genres: Drama
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Bread and Roses Reviews:

In this movie, there are no purloined designer clothes to masquerade in, and Prince Charming doesn't come finished with a political career and a three-piece suit--he's a scruffy charmer in a baggy t-shirt with tiny more to offer than a megaphone and a cause.This is a movie made by a director who has to be spiritual kin to Michael Moore, but his topics matter is quite different. Here we see true immigrants (both legal and illegal) being used rather cynically by companies whose business plan contains hiring the most downtrodden and fearful and hand-to-mouth in our country, paying them the lowest possible wages, giving them absolutely no benefits whatsoever, and thereby winning contracts to deliever custodial and another services over companies that pay a fair and living wage, plus benefits, to primarily unionized employees who are American citizens. You know this really happens. It does. The greatest remedy for the case is certainly a matter for debate, but no matter what your political slant or position on labor unions and illegal immigrants, you will most definitely search meal for thought herein.OTOH, if you are also one of the drooling legions of newbie Adrien Brody fangirls, you will search even more meal for thought. Brody is painfully pretty in this movie-a piquant mixuture of earnest, funny, sincere, sweet, and fiery, topped off with a kinghell situation of `bedhead'.The three central users are Pilar Padilla, as idealistic illegal immigrant Maya, her overburdened sister Rosa, played by Elipidia Carillo, and Brody as Sam Shapiro, an organizer and activist for the cause. No fairy tale, this movie, though a several of the cast are reasonably good-looking. The cast, many of whom really are janitors and custodians, are as true as it gets. You can see a lifetime of difficult labor and long hours in their faces, and the slump to their shoulders.I really grew to like these struggling janitors and maids. None of them were "types"--they were all true folks and their conflicts and concerns were illuminated very well, despite limited screen time being accessible to each. By treating these characters with respect and making them fully-fleshed out, it made the passion of the organizers for this particular cause more understandable, and not just as sometimes seems the situation in some portrayals, a matter of someone who is bored or spoiled or has some sort of guilt-complex trying to search their identity and using do-gooderism as a means to that end. Through coming out from the shadows, and joining the nice and messy American experience of organized dissent, you should practically see some of these characters changing into `Americans' before your eyes, no matter what their official papers might say. Thinking like Americans, standing up for their rights, making their voices heard. That's how it's supposed to work-isn't it? Isn't it?If there are caricatures in this movie, then those would be some of the building administrators, but their screen time is so limited, and they are usually so surprised and besieged by Sam Shapiro's stunts and protests that their lack of articulate or sympathetic response seems realistic enough to me. But the one thing that stands out is more than anything else is the absolutely natural acting style. Nobody really seems to be "acting" in this movie. It's as if there was a very unobtrusive documentary maker following these people around. The film is, however, well-paced between scenes which are rousing or charming, and those which are raw and painful.Although this film is not a love storyline or romance, per se, Adrien's hero does receive some action in it. In fact, in one amusing scene, he is literally hauled into a janitor's closet by an enterprising female (smart girl!!) and snogged silly. One can but applaud that sort of enterprise and initiative on the part of a newest comeback to this nice country of ours. That's the type of can-do immigrant spirit that made this country great, and if I were there, I would be sure to say her how much I admired that quality in her, when I visited her in the hospital to apologize for having accidentally whacked her out of the method with a long-handled mop. But it can't all be funny and cute, and indeed, in this same section of the film is a stage of such raw emotion, harsh language, honesty, and truth, between the two Mexican sisters that I cannot tell I have ever seen anything like it. Even Ebert told in his review that it's the type of stage that would victory an Oscar if the Academy ever saw films like this, which of course, they don't.The ending is both feel-good triumphant, and bittersweet. I think that such an ending was very much in keeping with the tone and overall realism of this movie--yes, some things changed for the better, but for folks like these, not everyone gets that satisfied ending and lives happily ever after. At least, not right away.There's true passion here, on the part of everyone involved, and it feels genuine, not manipulative. It's a pleasure to see a film with nice quality production values and perfect acting which was made for a reason, not just to create money.


As the daughter of hard-working Mexican immigrant parents and having been raised in one of Los Angeles' poorest barrios, I often saw the storyline of Rosa and Maya being played out in true life within my family and amongst my neighbors. The authenticity with which this storyline is said is astounding, showing a deep respect for those who in find of a method to create an honest living, topics themselves to countless humiliations and are relegated to live outside the margins of mainstream America.Kudos to the writers!! This is the first time I have ever seen an American movie in which the dialogue in Spanish was written by someone who now speaks the language and can grasp the nuances and feeling of the language so perfectly. Richard Hicks is to be commended for casting both Elpidia Carrillo and Pilar Padilla in the roles of Rosa and Maya, respectively. They deliver their dialogue, especially in Spanish, with an emotion and passion that is rarely seen on the Hollywood silver screen. Needless to say, Bread and Roses is actually on my list of must-have-films to add to my DVD library.


When I attended a screening a week ago sponsored by a local public supported radio station (KPFK) in Los Angeles, I was not certain if this movie was a documentary or typical crafted Hollywood-style hyperbole since I listened with half an ear while jogging and listening to an occasion to attend.Who would have thought that a easy discussion on a local public supported radio station in Los Angeles (KPFK) a several years ago would compel a screenwriter (Paul Laverty) to visit a union organizing effort in downtown Los Angeles (circa 1999) resulting in a movie that was drama, comedy, farce, fear, compassion and a taste of dusted immigrants creeping through Tijuana-to-USA shrubs to gain entry via the abusive "coyotes" human smuggler routes. Most of these immigrants land in day-worker cases and weak pay and yet Los Angeles would collapse without them. This movie concentrates on the downtown office zone -- owned and occupied by the elite of Los Angeles establishment - and where many undocumented workers toil under conditions that are far less than that recommended by international Human Rights standards.This was a polished non-Hollywood-capability-film but yet intimately Los Angeles. I listened to an interview yesterday on KPFK with Laverty and learned that funding was elsewhere - Europe I recall - not 'Hollywood'. And Laverty is from Scotland. One would never guess that the movie was now on the low-budget scale when compared with Hollywood's pleasure to spend large dollars.I also learned that the movie was made in 30-days (hence the vibrant interaction of all cast members and energetic direction by Loach) and is in release this week with 30 prints in Los Angeles, and 300 nationwide USA. Sounds like some symmetry there and potential Lottery pick permutations.My only reservation is that the storyline is highly political in an undercurrent nature and may frighten an extensive audience --- unless the viewers just take the courage to go, watch, and enjoy. The movie will do the rest. The viewer will leave with more than the cost of a matinee price ticket.I also recommend that in an upcoming meeting between Vicente Fox, President of Mexico, and George W. Bush, President of United States, that Vicente snag a copy of the movie and present it to George while sipping tea in Texas. And then for dessert, sip more tea and watch "Traffic".



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