If the United States’ policies regarding immigration are abhorrent to you, after watching MARISOL, the plight of illegal immigrants will certainly exacerbate those feelings. Beautifully directed by Kevin Casanova Abrams, who is of Mexican-American descent, with a moving and intelligent screenplay by Claire Audrey Aguayo, this heart-wrenching story is destined to change minds over this very divisive subject.


Marisol Rivera, played with intense bravado by Esméralda Camargo making her feature film debut, is a 17-year-old with a very bright future. Living with her Aunt Carmen (Liana Mendoza) and cousin, Jaime (Max Pelayo), in a small Texas town, she is preparing for her dream of attending college. After receiving some promising news, Marisol allows her closest friend, Helen Liang (Mia King), talk her into attending a parking lot party later that night.


A confrontation at the gathering between Jaime and Justin (Theo Taplitz), a radicalized classmate, results in an accident for which Marisol is blamed. When Justin goes to the police, Marisol learns she is undocumented and must flee her home to save herself.


Through a system arranged to help illegal immigrants, Marisol travels north in the U.S. to find her mother. But when her family in Texas is subjugated due to her actions, Marisol returns to Texas to face the consequences.


MARISOL is a powerful documentation of the horrific choices and experiences undocumented residents face every day in this country. From abuse by the maniacs who help deport them to an arcane system which makes it nearly impossible to become legal, these human beings must endure despicable treatment.


Episode after episode of terror, harassment and unjust situations dominate the lives of people like Marisol who only want to become productive members of society. And, as illustrated here, many times these unfortunate individuals don’t even know they’re undocumented, just like Marisol.


Camargo’s Marisol is incredibly brave and resilient. She does a marvelous job carrying this film about a teenager who must come to accept her new reality and what should/could have been. Camargo is at once commanding --- and heartbreaking. It’s an absorbing performance. The entire cast is superb, which makes MARISOL a film not easily forgotten.


                    In theaters September 1st

                   Streaming September 12th


Opinion: See It Now!





MARISOL tells the tale of 17-year-old Marisol Rivera. Living in a small Texas town, Marisol (superbly played by Esméralda Camargo), receives a letter telling her she’s been accepted into college on a scholarship. But it all falls apart when she tries to verify her good fortune.


A young student named Justin (Theo Taplitz), working in the high school office, makes an effort to gain Marisol’s favor only to get rebuffed. He notices on her profile a lack of any documentation that would make her a legal U.S. citizen. At a party, Justin injures his hand with a firework, but blames Marisol and presses charges. Using social media to defame her, Marisol becomes a fugitive who fears losing her college admission status and being deported.


MARISOL is a microcosm of the plight of many illegals in America. For example, we learn that Marisol has been in the United States since she was six months old but her mother --- living in Minnesota --- has never been able to establish legal citizenship for herself or her daughter. Marisol does have support from her close friend, Helen Liang (Mia King), and especially from police detective Hector Ramirez (Ricky Catter).


The screenplay, written by Claire Audrey Aguayo, wants to tug at our heartstrings but doesn’t quite get there. That is not to take away from Ms. Camargo’s deft performance --- she really is wonderful. And so is Catter in his portrayal of the cop who knows her family and desperately wants to help.


Justin is the type of villain viewers love to despise, and in the capable hands of Taplitz --- we do. He spews hatred and racist remarks that unfortunately echo sentiments so prevalent today. On that issue, MARISOL, directed by Kevin Casanova Abrams, is more than compelling.


                    In theaters September 1st

                   Streaming September 12th



Opinion:  Mild See It Now!