SUNDANCE 2020 FESTIVAL REVIEW! I knew absolutely nothing about I Carry You With Me walking into the theater, except that it was a love story that spans decades. Upon leaving, I was surprised by how moving, intimate, heartbreaking this film wound up being.
I Carry You With Me is based on a real-life couple’s journey towards the American dream as Mexican immigrants. Ivan (Armando Espitia) and Gerardo (Christian Vazquez) meet at a gay bar in Puebla, Mexico. It doesn’t take long before the two are in a relationship. Of course, because it is Mexico in the ’80s, both young men are closeted from their families. Ivan, especially, stays closeted because of his young son. His son’s mother, Paola (Michelle Gonzalez), would not let him see his son if she found out.
“Ivan thinks that once he moves to the US, he will automatically find his way into a kitchen…”
Both young men’s fathers have some idea that their sons might be gay from when they’re very young. Ivan’s father finds him in a quinceanera dress his mother had made with makeup on and calmly tells him to take off the dress since his mother had worked so hard on it. Gerardo’s father drives young Gerardo out to the middle of nowhere and tells him to spend the night out there so that he can think about what he’s doing because otherwise, he might go to hell if he continues with this lifestyle.
Ivan’s dream is to become a chef, but he works as a busboy/ janitor in a restaurant. Gerardo is pretty well set up as a teaching assistant and graduate student. However, when Paola finds out that Ivan is in a relationship with Gerardo and says he can no longer see his son, Ivan decides he wants to move to the United States. His friend, Sandra (Mexican comedienne Michelle Rodriguez), decides to join him.
We see the harrowing journey they make to cross the border. Ivan thinks that once he moves to the US, he will automatically find his way into a kitchen, but it takes quite some time. He starts out washing cars and then works as a restaurant deliveryman. Gerardo misses Ivan too much, so he decides to join him in New York. We see his harrowing journey across the border as well.
"…a love story that spans decades."