In the Latino neighborhood of New York City's Washington Heights, two sons of immigrants -- one Dominican, one Irish, wrestle with ambition and identity, only to discover that sometimes pursuing one's... more
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In the Latino neighborhood of New York City's Washington Heights, two sons of immigrants -- one Dominican, one Irish, wrestle with ambition and identity, only to discover that sometimes pursuing one's dreams comes at a heavy cost. Carlos (Manny Perez), 28, lives in the Heights, where his father Eddie (Milían) runs a bodega. He works in the East Village as an inker for comic books, but is developing his own project, something he hopes to sell to a well-known publisher. Mickey (Hoch) is the sweet-natured superintendent of their building, a man whose loopy dreams of becoming a professional bowler are met with only derision by his father, Sean (Jude Ciccolella). Both Carlos and Mickey are burning with desire to get out of the Heights. Unlike their sons, Eddie and Sean are immigrants or children of immigrants who have made their peace with their unfulfilled dreams. Like Carlos and Mickey, the two are best friends and Sean has made the mistake of lending Eddie $25,000 to cover his profligate spending. When Eddie is injured during a robbery, Sean convinces Carlos to take over the store and protect his investment. For Carlos -- who has been challenged by his mentor to rework a superficial comic strip into something of substance -- running the store is the last thing on his mind. Nevertheless, he puts his artistic aspirations on hold to take over the store and care for his father. Together they work through their mutual mistrust and grief over the death of Carlos' mother. Through it all, Carlos comes to understand that if he is to make it as an artist, he must engage with the community he comes from and take that experience back out into the world by putting it in his work.