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Genres: Drama
Actors: Pilar Padilla , Adrien Brody , Elpidia Carrillo , Jack McGee , Monica Rivas , Frankie Davila , Lillian Hurst , Mayron Payes , Maria Orellana , Melody Garrett , Gigi Jackman , Beverly Reynolds , Eloy Méndez , Elena Antonenko , Olga Gorelik
Director: Ken Loach
Country: United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Switzerland
Year: 2000
IMDB Rating: 7.0/10 (3583 votes)

Maya is a quick-witted young woman who comes over the Mexican border without papers and makes her way 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 try for public support; management intimidates workers to divide and conquer. Rosa and Maya as well as workers and management may be set to collide.

Film Review

I'd like to start with a positive note: I liked the performance of Elpidia Carrillo.I did not care much for the rest of the movie.It has been shown, again and again, that trade unions are bad for the American economy. The UAW union has been "successfully" destroying the American automobile industry; the teachers' union has been no less successfully destroying the American schools; et cetera, et cetera. But these minor details shouldn't matter, should they, when we watch "Bread and Roses"? This movie, if you take it seriously, wants you to believe that without a union, the only way for a woman to get a job for herself or for her sister is to sleep with the boss; otherwise she can only support her family by becoming a prostitute.The cute female lead, an illegal Mexican immigrant, robs a gas station, but we are supposed to sympathize with her because this is "for a good cause".The male lead, a union organizer, steals the food from a table in a re…

Illegal Mexican immigrant Maya (Pilar Padilla) arrives at her big sister's house looking to work with her as an office cleaner. She dodges potential abduction and rape on her hazardous quest to make a better life for herself. However, union organiser Sam (Adrien Brody) convinces her that betterment lies not in slaving for below minimum wage, but in joining his Justice for Janitors campaign.Watching Bread and Roses I realised that, for many years, my wish to support Ken Loach and Paul Laverty has over-ruled my actual dislike for their films. Bread and Roses references an inspiring story, but the actual relaying of it cinematically by Loach, and in narrative terms by Laverty, is flat and under-realized. The rhythm of the scenes is stuttering, like poor improv or early rehearsals. Sam shows up at big sister Rosa's house, and immediately launches into a pro-union speech like he has known these people for a while. The cleaning company boss is a pantomime villain. There is some ki…

surprised that this movie got an overall 7.1 score. I think it deserves much higher than that. I think part of the reason could be this movie is heavily political and sympathetic to the problems that most illegal immigrants are facing in real life. However, it is also a fact that the problems portrayed in this movie is universal for all workers who do not have a union. The script is very nicely written, except in one occasion when Maya stole money from the service station. I thought that it was unnecessary to include this episode in the script; it diluted the seriousness of the film; she could have easily asked Sam to loan the small amount of money that Maya needed in order to give it to Ruben.Acting by Pilar Padilla (Maya), Adrien Brody (Sam), and Elpidia Carrillo (Rosa) are outstanding!


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