Review: ‘Chavez’ gives leader routine treatment

March 27, 2014 • Entertainment

This photo released by Pantelion Films shows Rosario Dawson as Dolores Huerta, left, and Michael Pena as Cesar Chavez in a scene from the film, “Cesar Chavez.” The biopic opens in theaters on Friday, March 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Pantelion Films, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Diego Luna’s heartfelt biographical drama, “Cesar Chavez,” chronicles the five-year struggle of the United Farm Workers co-founder in the 1960s to get California grape growers to the negotiating table to hammer out fair wages and better conditions for exploited field laborers. It’s a stirring story of a real-life fight for social justice, and clearly a passion project for the Mexican actor-turned-director. But while the film’s old-fashioned virtues and the integrity of its subject matter give it some traction, pedestrian handling, a lumpy script and some significant miscasting mean it only occasionally summons the dramatic power to match the events it depicts.

Chavez’s later life, in particular his widely publicized 1988 hunger strike to protest the use of cancer-causing pesticides on grape crops, is the subject of the feature documentary “Cesar’s Last Fast.” This poorly Login to read more

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