Heidi Ewing has done an excellent job of portraying the real-life story of a gay couple in the film I Carry You With Me. The presentation of the real-life couple in the film, besides the actors, has made the overall presentation of the movie unique. The film is a docu-drama, presenting the real-life characters alongside skilled actors like Christian Vasquez and Armando Espitia. The film highlights societal perils like homophobia and racism and, hence, helps raise awareness among its audiences. The plot revolves around Ivan’s American dream of becoming a renowned chef someday. He illegally comes to America, and his lover follows him, but his memories back in his homeland keep gnawing at his heart. Will Ivan never be able to go back to Mexico? Let’s find out!
How Did Ivan Fulfill His American Dream?
The lack of opportunities back in Mexico triggered Ivan to try and fulfill his dream of becoming a chef in America. He had been struggling to become a chef at one of the local restaurants in Mexico. After separating from his wife, Paola, he had to bear all the financial responsibilities of his son, Ricky. He wanted to find a better opportunity to earn more money for a stable life. He had undertaken the risk of illegally crossing the American border to enter the country as a refugee. He had also persuaded Sandra, one of his childhood friends, to accompany him on his journey. The journey proved to be quite straining for Sandra, and she collapsed in the middle of the road, but Ivan did not give up his hope and decided to take her to America with him. This brings out the dedication that Ivan had, not only in fulfilling his own dreams but also in retaining the bonds that he had with others. Somehow, the two of them managed to reach the border and infiltrate the country. While working as a delivery man there, he got the opportunity to work as a helping hand in one of the restaurant kitchens. He proved his skill to the authorities and attained the position of chef in the restaurant, slowly fulfilling his dream. After 14 years of hard work, he finally managed to get hold of a restaurant chain of his own, with 80 employees working under him. He was finally living the life that he had always wanted. His ambitions and dedication to his work attracted him the recognition that he had always craved.
What Happens To Gerardo?
Life had not been a bed of roses for Ivan when he reached America. He was mistreated, and he complained about the racial discrimination that he had to face on a regular basis with Gerardo. He had also not been able to find a suitable job as a chef right away and was doing all kinds of odd jobs there. He, however, lied to Gerardo about working as a chef in a restaurant. When Gerardo told him that he would come to him, Ivan asked him not to come, as life in America was not the ideal one for him, bringing out the ruthlessness of American life. When Gerardo applies for a visa, his plea gets rejected due to strict checking. He then decides to illegally go into the country to unite with his lover. He somehow manages to cross the border and reunite with Ivan in America. When the two meet, Ivan thinks to himself that since Gerardo had come to an unknown country, solely relying on him, he would take his full responsibility. It was out of a sense of duty and responsibility for Gerardo that he tried even harder to fulfill his dreams. When Ivan manages to become financially stable, they are shown to create a fantasy realm for themselves, leading a very content life together despite being away from their homes.
What Happens To Ivan?
Ivan’s memory of his homeland had started to fade after 14 long years in a foreign land. He felt as if he had left behind a part of his soul in Mexico. It had been so long since he had last seen his own family that he often got confused between his memories and dreams of them. He never got to meet his son again, making life miserable for him. His son had been trying to reach out to his father, but due to certain reasons, his travel documentation was being canceled. The way the laws of the country have been setting up a barrier, separating a father from his son, is disheartening. When Ivan’s father fell ill, he could not go back to Mexico, which made him regret his decision to come to America. On consulting his lawyer, he was told that since he had traveled to the country without a document, he was not allowed to go back to Mexico. This event in Ivan’s life brings out the dark side of entering America as an immigrant. Ivan must have felt like a prisoner within the country, unable to reunite with his loved ones.
What Symbols Of Homophobia Have Been Highlighted In The Film?
There are several elements of homophobia that have been presented throughout I Carry You With Me. We see Gerardo being tortured by his father at a very tender age because the villagers thought that he wouldn’t grow up to be man enough. He roughly drags him to a field and threatens him. Ivan is also seen enjoying dressing up as a girl in one of the frocks that his mother had once sewn. When Sandra helps him with his makeup, his father comes in and looks at him with disgust and then leaves. The misbehavior of the elders stayed with the kids for the rest of their lives, making them feel like criminals for having different sexual preferences. When Ivan visits Gerardo’s house, the patriarchal demeanor of his father makes him feel uncomfortable. When he learned that Ivan used to wash dishes at a restaurant, he told him that it was a woman’s task to wash dishes. This brings out the constricted mindsets that many people have regarding defining according to genders. The regular taunts that people from the queer community have to face can be seen when Gerardo is called names on the street by random people. Ivan was scared of revealing his sexual preferences to his family, as he thought that they might not let him meet his son. The very fact that he had to conceal his inner self from his family is very disheartening. The restriction that society puts on accepting homosexuals is one of the major factors that has been boldly stated in the film.
The lack of facilities and financial disparities in Mexico as compared to first-world countries have been highlighted through this film. People’s inability to accept others with different sexual choices is the root of many crimes all across the world. The real-life portrayal of the life of a gay couple brings out the struggles that they had to undergo. They had to face financial, familial, and other issues together. Despite the several challenges, they managed to stick by each other and help themselves see a better future. However, the issue of refugee-handling in America also remains a notorious problem, which has been addressed in I Carry You With Me. Multiple factors, like homophobia, racial problems, and the issues associated with illegal immigration, have been covered in the film, giving us a wider view of the challenges faced by many people all over the world.