Theatrical Release: February 4, 2000
DVD Release: September 2, 2003


Esperanza, a beautiful and devoutly religious widow lives in a small Mexican town with her teenage daughter, Blanca. Strong in her faith and happy with her daughter, Esperanza’s life takes a drastic change when Blanca undergoes a routine tonsillectomy. Suddenly the mother is told her daughter has succumbed to a mysterious virus. The devastated mother wishes to see her daughter’s body, but is denied.
Grieving at home, a miraculous sign appears to Esperanza. A statue of St. Jude speaks to her, telling her not to believe those who are telling her that Blanca is dead. And when the doctor abruptly leaves town the day after the girl’s death, Esperanza suspects that her only daughter has been sold into sexual slavery.
She begins a quest, searching for clues as to daughter’s whereabouts. Soon, she takes a job as a maid in a brothel, hoping to gather some information. Then she is off to Tijuana, to another brothel. Needing to become inconspicuous, Esperanza becomes one of the house’s working girls. While treated kindly by one of the customers, she learns of another place where she might find her daughter. The customer smuggles her into L.A. where she continues her search. Spanish with subtitles.

Dove Review

Content Description

Not as exploitive as it may sound, the film actually deals reverently with the woman’s faith and her willingness to sacrifice her own life for the love of her child. Unfortunately, the film’s R-rated content prevents us from recommending it – 12 or 14 obscenities, but I caught no misuse of God’s name; two sexual situations, one with partial nudity; some imagery is meant as sensual; the world of prostitution suggests perversion; while there is no occultism, many may disapprove of the lead praying to statutes of saints; the violence consists of a fight between a woman and a pimp. Mainly, it is the film's subject matter that gains the R rating.


Company: New Yorker Films
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 100 min.
Industry Rating: R