Americans who gnash their teeth over what they see as the tide of street gangs, drug thugs and international terrorists pouring across the country's southwestern border are hereby advised to chill. The solution to the problem of illegal immigration is simple, if only we can overcome a general lack of national niceness and open ourselves up to the healing power of hugs.
Such, anyway, is the message of the new movie
The story is the usual ensemble stew of instructive character plights.
Meanwhile, a militant Muslim girl named Taslima (Summer Bishil, of "Towelhead"), who has lived in the U.S. with her illegal-immigrant Bangladeshi parents since she was three years old, has drawn the disapproving attention of the FBI after reading an essay in a high school class urging sympathetic understanding of the 9/11 hijackers. ("I thought there was something called free speech," she tells the Feds — who apparently think there's also something called legal residence.) Taslima is being defended by Denise Frankel (
The large contribution made by enterprising immigrants in building this country is well-known; and the fact that many such people are today being chewed up and spit out by the immigration system is no longer news — it's a torturous problem that cries out for a solution. This picture's South African director, Wayne Kramer, a naturalized U.S. citizen himself, is no doubt well-intentioned. But to suggest, as his movie does, that good people are the only ones being denied residence in a nation that admits more legal immigrants than any other country in the world subverts the film's goal — who will be swayed by a movie with such a cockeyed premise? "Crossing Over" is also mopily paced, and hobbled by clanky dialogue ("You doubt the veracity of my heart") and wildly implausible situations. (The scene set in the bloody wreckage of a convenience-store robbery, in which an ICE agent gives a pass to a gun-wielding kid because tomorrow is the day he's due to be naturalized, elicited hoots of derision at the screening I attended.) Meanwhile, the long and seemingly insoluble immigration crisis continues.
Check out everything we've got on "Crossing Over."
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