L.A. organizer, Sam Shapiro (Brody), wants to unionize a local janitorial service, largely comprised of illegal immigrants. Without rights, these workers are regularly abused and mistreated for substandard wages. Mexican-American worker Maya (Padilla) becomes a key supporter, risking her own position, much to the consternation of her sister and fellow employee Rosa (Carrillo), who must support a disabled husband and can't afford to lose her job. With so much on the line, will the workers prevail?
The conflict between principle and practical reality is deftly explored by British director Loach in this affecting drama, set in present-day Southern California. The movie is further propelled by earthy performances by Brody and formidable newcomer Padilla. An intense, authentic depiction of our most vulnerable workers' struggle for a decent life, the film underscores the importance of taking a stand, however daunting. Shedding light on the desperate lives of people largely ignored in contemporary times, "Roses" is a tense, moving story about those still seeking — and being denied — the American Dream.