It’s difficult to reject a film such as La Misma Luna without being viewed as unsympathetic. After his grandma passes away, nine-year-old Carlitos (Adrian Alonso) embarks on a quixotic journey to Los Angeles, where his mother (Kate del Castillo) has been living for four years. Along the way he nearly suffocates in a minivan, picks fruit on a plantation, is almost sold into the sex trade and manages to elude the INS – twice!

To director Patricia Riggen’s credit, Alonso’s performance is consistently believable and heartfelt – no minor achievement for an actor born in 1994. But as Democrats and Republicans zero in on November, a film as overtly manipulative as La Misma Luna is unlikely to inspire anyone.

Under the Same Moon (La Misma Luna) is currently available.