In any society, hatred from prejudice is a guaranteed occurrence. This, and the tendency for those oppressed to stand firm, is the central theme of "Mi Familia." The film follows the Sanchez family across several generations of tenacious survival in the face of adversity, conflict, and deep pain. The first element found in this film was the characterization of the cultural traits demonstrated in the film.
The characterization of Mexican culture in the film was visible throughout, but several examples stuck in the viewer's mind and left a long lasting effect. The first example of this is the fierce pride shown through the character of El Californio. El Californio is a man of Mexican descent who was born in Los Angeles when it was a part of Mexico, and who is so proud of his home country that he wants "and where I lie, it is still Mexico" written on his headstone. Also, another example of cultural traits is the dedication to the family shown by Maria. Maria had been sent back to Spain by government troops, but she fights her way back to her family, carrying her new baby with her the whole way. Second, the movie shows many of the difficulties faced by the Mexican immigrants to the U.S.
The movie's theme about courage in the face of adversity is shown in many ways throughout the film. First, Jose is forced to live in a small house on a dirt road when he first enters L.A., making his living as a gardener. A prime example of the heartache suffered comes when the pregnant Maria is separated from her new family and deported to Mexico, despite the fact that she is an American citizen. A final example of the misery of Mexican-American life comes when Chucho, who has been involved in street gangs, is shot by the police in front of his younger brother Jimmy.
The relationships between the members of the Sanchez family show the dedication to the family and the deep love for one another that is characteristic of many Hispanic households.