Movie Recap: Tigers are not Afraid

My twitter timeline began to fill with positive reviews about this movie. Then I started accepting suggestions for Hispanic Heritage Month movies to watch and write a recap. The request to watch this film was overwhelming, so I watched it. To those who requested this film, I’d like to THANK YOU! I was moved after watching this film. I first watched it a few days ago, I can’t stop thinking about it.

The violence in Mexico doesn’t discriminate against anyone. The film begins in a school classroom where the professor is talking about fairy tales and the elements commonly shown in these stories. The class is disrupted by drive-by shooting, while Estrella is on the floor seeking safety she receives three pieces of chalk for her three wishes. Estrella gets home from school, and her mother is no longer there (she’s been murdered). She’s forced to leave her house after making her first wish (for her mother to return).

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A group of orphans resides on the rooftop of a nearby building surviving day by day. Estrella, now an orphan, integrates into the group. The leader of the group, Shine, is a boy who is full of rage and seeks revenge for the death of his mother. The film follows the group of children through this journey.

I watched the film a second time looking for additional details I had missed. Now I’m in love with this movie because I was invested in these characters. This movie reminded me of Pan’s Labyrinth with its fantastical elements, and it’s dark/horror tone. The fantasy elements are beautifully integrated into the film. The paranormal activity succeeds in creeping me out.

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My favorite character is Shine as he is the embodiment of a tiger and prince. Throughout the first half of the film Shine is wearing a striped shirt and is seen spraypainting tigers on the walls. Everything he posses symbolizes a tiger or has a tiger drawn on it. His character resonated with me the most with his story but mainly his performance.

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This film has children going through difficult situations, and unfortunately, many children do experience this. There were two specific scenes where I cried and seeing this film with a mother’s lense influenced plenty. The ending of this movie was heartbreaking yet satisfying. Issa Lopez directs these children masterfully and successfully showcases that regardless of the circumstances this group is experiencing they’re still children. I want to say more about this film, but I don’t want to spoil it, so if you’ve seen this film then feel free to message me, and we can discuss this film. Please watch this film! It’s currently streaming on Shudder.

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