This Mexican film was submitted for consideration for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars the year it was released (2017). It didn’t make the cut. I can’t remember which movie won in that category that year, but it doesn’t matter. I guarantee you, whatever that movie was, TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID was just as good and probably better. Whatever film won Best Picture that year (again I don’t immediately recall, and again it doesn’t matter), this movie is just as good and probably better. TIGERS ARE NOT ARAID is as good as movies get. It is heartbreaking and mesmerizing, featuring the finest performances by child actors that I have ever seen.
With shades of films like PAN’S LABYRINTH and THE SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE, only more gritty, more urban and dirty, TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID tells the story of a group of children left orphaned by the drug wars that plague modern Mexico. Though fictional, it disturbs because you realize that the events it depicts are all too real, are all too true for countless kids living there, in a world dominated by crime and bloodshed. The magical undertones help to make what would otherwise be a journey of unendurable bleakness more tolerable. But it will still make you cry, even if you’re a blackhearted soulless misanthrope like me. I really can’t say enough good things about this movie.