The award-winning film, Smuggled written and directed by Ramón Hamilton, brings to life the sacrifice immigrant mothers make to provide their children with better opportunities by leaving their own countries for the United States. The film is about is about Hilaria Rodriguez, played brilliantly by Denisse Bon, and her 9 year-old son Miguel, played by Ramsess Letrado, who travel to the U.S. from Mexico smuggled inside a hidden compartment in a tour bus in hopes of reuniting with Rodriguez’s husband.
The film honors Hamilton’s mother, Hilaria Hamilton. To a degree, the story parallels Hamilton’s own family experience. His mother came to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic as a student, although Hamilton himself was born in the U.S.
At the heart of the movie is the loving relationship between mother and son, like the one Hamilton had with his own mother, who struggled with diabetes. In the film, Hilaria Rodriguez and her son Miguel share a closeness and warmth that feels real, and the relationship dominates the film.
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A recent review on The Young Folks stated: “The moments between mother and son are what really makes Smuggled an engaging watch. Their onscreen chemistry is what helps the audience connect with the story.”
At a time when immigration is at the forefront of political and social debates, Smuggled reminds us of the real people, their motivations, their stories and the love between those who sacrifice everything to come the United States to offer their children a better future. But the story also reminds us of the sacrifices that all mothers make—immigrants or not—and of the deep and abiding love that exists between a mother and child.
As a film made by a young man hoping to honor his mother, Smuggled is a must-see for Mother’s Day.