I Carry You with Me

I Carry You with Me

In Theatres: 
Jul 09, 2021
Running Time: 
111 minutes

I Carry You with Me is the feature film debut for director Heidi Ewing, but she’s no stranger to the industry, having directed multiple documentaries including the award-winning Jesus Camp and The Boys of Baraka. The film takes full advantage of her background, telling the true story of Iván and Gerardo, two Mexicans who find love in one another as they navigate the harsh realities of society. I Carry You with Me is as heartbreaking as it is heartwarming as it delivers a captivating story that deals with the complexities of society and the struggle to simply survive.


Iván (Armando Espitia) dreams of becoming a chef but the restaurant he works in only has him washing dishes. What little money he does make goes to his ex-girlfriend and his son. While out at a party one night he catches the eye of Gerado (Christian Vázquez), and the two immediately develop feelings for one another. As a fully out gay man, Gerado pushes Iván to embrace his true self and follow his dreams, with the end goal of crossing the border to the United States. But life isn’t easy for either of them, and they’re going to have to get through many hardships if they’re going to make it.


The synopsis for I Carry You with Me makes it sound like just another immigrant story, but it’s so much more than that. It’s a story about love and romance and overcoming adversaries with Iván and Gerardo at its core. Iván is always trying to do the right thing, as difficult as it may be. The majority of his actions are in service to someone else. He wants a better job so he can provide more for his son. Same with getting to America. It’s Gerardo who is able to convince him to think about what he wants for himself as well. The film beautifully captures those initial butterflies of an early romance, which then blossoms into something even more beautiful.


What makes I Carry You with Me so potent is that it draws from a true story. Not only that, but Ewing actually goes so far as to include the real Iván and Gerardo in the third act, turning the narrative feature film into an actual documentary for the last 20 minutes or so. At first the story flashes back to Iván and Gerardo’s childhood growing up in Mexico. Both knew from an early age that they were gay, but their family and the culture wasn’t accepting. While Iván hid it from it, Gerardo embraced it. Yet both still faced difficulties. When the film flashes forward to the present day and we see the actual people the film is based on, it makes their journey all the more real and impactful. These aren’t just characters playing out a story on screen anymore; they’re real people who made real decisions.


While the love between Iván and Gerardo will warm your heart, the struggle associated with coming to the United States will make you ache and question what it means to have a better life. Iván illegally crosses the border into the US, and while he is successful, his methods of coming over means that he can never go back. Despite becoming a chef and running a business, he can’t physically see his son. And it’s not like he can just come over and visit his dad in the United States either because despite going through all legal channels, border security has denied entry every time so far. It’s devastating to watch.


I Carry You with Me will have you going through all the emotions. It’s ambitious and beautiful and will absolutely break your heart as it explores the complexities of love and loss. You’ll no doubt be carrying this film in your heart for a long time to come.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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