Fighting for Freedom (NR)

Drama 87 October 18, 2013
By Michael Nordine
Anyone not already in favor of immigration reform is unlikely to be swayed by Farhad Mann's drama Fighting for Freedom. Its attempt at swaying those on the fence is rooted in a maudlin deportation case involving a little girl whose parents work on an orchard, with Mann's reasonable message getting lost amid teary-eyed exhortations and grandiose speechifying—he tugs at the heartstrings when he should be furthering the conversation. That the movie's grasp far exceeds its reach is suggested by the title and confirmed by scene after scene, the main offender being a lengthy courtroom monologue that aims for To Kill a Mockingbird but lands closer to Law and Order. Just as distractingly overwrought is the music, which veers from the sort of vaguely Middle Eastern chants that have long signified worldly humanism to a grandiloquent aria accompanying what may well be the most introspective shower scene ever shot. (An anti-immigration rally featuring an actual "They took our jobs!" sign, meanwhile, provides some needed, if unintentional, humor.) None of these TV-movie trappings does Freedom's topical subject any favors, but they do confirm that those most passionate about something often require some sort of creative filter when making art about it. Strangest of all is the prominently featured Bruce Dern, whose appearance here mostly serves to remind how rough it must be for septuagenarian thespians in between projects like Nebraska.
Farhad Mann Patricia De Leon, Bruce Dern, Ian Duncan, Kristanna Loken, José María Yazpik, Eddie Allen, Mike Barry, Nicholas Baroudi, Joseph Capone, Dylan Carusona Chris Loken Farhad Mann, Kristanna Loken

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