Half Brothers, written and directed by Luke Greenfield, tells the story of two siblings who have never met before yet are forced to take a road trip planned for them by their ailing father who desperately wants to reconnect his broken family. Renato, played by Luis Gerardo Mendez, and Asher (Connor Del Rio) are an unlikely pairing that must go through trials and tribulations that ultimately leads to the idea that family is an unbreakable bond above all else.
Not only does the film touch on family issues that many can relate to, but it also places an emphasis on the cultural dynamics and differences between Hispanics and Americans. Whether it’s poking fun and highlighting the stereotypes or showing the perspectives and harsh realities of life, Half Brothers uses comedy to portray each culture on screen in a great way.
Renato, a successful aviation executive born and raised in Mexico, meets his American half-brother, Asher, for the first time when life’s circumstances bring them together. Upon landing in Asher’s hometown in Chicago, a hilarious encounter with his taxi driver shows his annoyance toward Americans and their perception of Mexicans. The taxi driver proceeds to say how much she loves Cancun, a popular tourist destination, and asks whether or not he goes ziplining often, clearly a stereotype straight out of an all-inclusive vacation package pamphlet. Responding negatively, Renato is unenthused by these generalizations.
“Those comments don’t come from a mean place they come from ignorance in a way. We just wanted to laugh about that and open a conversation about those issues,” said Luis Gerardo Mendez.
Imagine being asked about Cancun and ziplining and you’d probably react the same way. However, the playful stereotypes within the movie bring up the conversation of how important it is to try to see other people’s perspectives despite coming from different backgrounds or having nothing in common at all.
Greenfield suggests that although there are hardships that families may go through, one must have an open mind to create harmony within ourselves and our relationships with others. Greenfield describes the underlying meaning behind the tension throughout the film that the brothers face when stating that empathy is key.
“We all get mad or angry at our families and our parents or siblings, but it’s about forgiveness. It’s about understanding the other person’s experience and what they’ve been through and their journey and their point of view and understanding them and empathy and having empathy for them,” said Luke Greenfield.
Half Brothers, which also stars Juan Pablo Espinosa, hits theaters on December 4, 2020.