Entertainment » Movies

A Place To Be

by Roger Walker-Dack
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday May 15, 2018
A Place To Be

When Abel (Nelson Rodriguez) meets Diego (Andrew Saenz) in "A Place to Be," it is literally love at first sight. These two young Latino men living in Chicago instantly bond in what we assume is going to be a gentle romantic story. However, their world is upturned when Diego suddenly discovers that his mother is dying back home in Mexico, and as he is an undocumented alien he knows the enormous risk he takes if he goes to visit her.

He's kept his legal status a secret from Abel, but after a blazing row, Abel decides that he will accompany Diego back to Mexico regardless of the circumstances. After all, true love knows no barriers. Without giving any spoilers, just know that you will need a big box of Kleenex to watch this one.

The movie, evidently based in part on true incidents, was written and directed by Tadeo Garcia and, using local actors, was made in Chicago (and Mexico) and shot on great locations, making the city itself one of the film's stars. 

"A Place To Be" was already in production during the last presidential election and naturally it has now taken on greater relevance given the current administration's unbridled hatred of immigrants. This storyline focuses on the effects of our immigration policies on the loved ones of undocumented workers, and the devastating consequences those policies can wreak on their relationships.

Aside from this main plank of the story, Garcia tries (too hard?) to squeeze in quite a few other issues, such as the racism that is creeping into the LGBT community and the general alienation of any gay man who isn't a millennial. These issues unnecessarily muddy the plot at times. Having said that, the story is balanced by the fact that the two leads have perfect chemistry together, and they put in compelling and convincing performances.

Whilst the whole topic of having straight actors play gay men on screen continues to be controversial, it is very interesting that one of these actors is gay and the other is straight; we would defy anyone to work out which is which.

This entertaining and extremely moving drama picked up more than its fair share of awards when it played the Film Festival circuit. "A Place to Be" is now available on DVD and globally streaming platforms.

"A Place to Be"

Roger Walker-Dack, a passionate cinephile, is a freelance writer, critic and broadcaster and the author/editor of three blogs. He divides his time between Miami Beach and Provincetown.


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