Crossing Over (film)
Crossing Over is a 2009 American independent drama film
Drama film
A drama film is a film genre that depends mostly on in-depth development of realistic characters dealing with emotional themes. Dramatic themes such as alcoholism, drug addiction, infidelity, moral dilemmas, racial prejudice, religious intolerance, poverty, class divisions, violence against women...

 about illegal immigrant
Illegal immigration
Illegal immigration is the migration into a nation in violation of the immigration laws of that jurisdiction. Illegal immigration raises many political, economical and social issues and has become a source of major controversy in developed countries and the more successful developing countries.In...

s of different nationalities struggling to achieve legal status in Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

. The film deals with the border, document fraud, the asylum
Right of asylum
Right of asylum is an ancient juridical notion, under which a person persecuted for political opinions or religious beliefs in his or her own country may be protected by another sovereign authority, a foreign country, or church sanctuaries...

 and green card process, work-site enforcement, naturalization
Naturalization is the acquisition of citizenship and nationality by somebody who was not a citizen of that country at the time of birth....

, the office of counter-terrorism and the clash of cultures. Crossing Over was written and directed by Wayne Kramer
Wayne Kramer (filmmaker)
Wayne Kramer is a South African screenwriter, film producer, storyboard artist and film director.Kramer has written and directed films such as The Cooler, Crossing Over, Blazeland and Running Scared...

, himself an immigrant from South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

, and is a remake of his 1995 short film of the same name. Kramer produced the film alongside Frank Marshall.

Crossing Over was filmed on location in Los Angeles in 2007.


There are several stories interwoven throughout the movie. For simplicity, they are separated out in this description, each with its own paragraph.

After immigrant Mireya Sanchez is deported, immigration officer Max Brogan takes care of her little son, and brings him to the boy's grandparents in Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

. Later the woman is found dead near the border. Brogan returns to the grandparents to tell them the bad news.

Taslima Jahangir, a 15-year-old girl from Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

, presents a paper at school promoting that people should try to understand the 9/11 hijackers. The school principal reports this to authorities. FBI agents raid the home and ransack her room, reading her diaries and a school assignment on the ethics of suicide, criticizing her room as "too austere" and noting that she has an account on an Islamic website. The profiler says this makes her look like a would-be suicide bomber. She is not charged for this, but it turns out that she has only resident status. She was born in Bangladesh and brought to America at age three. Her father is studying for the citizenship test and Taslima's continued presence jeopardizes his chances and puts the two younger siblings at risk. The young kids are U.S. citizens because they were born in the U.S. Denise Frankel, the immigration defense attorney, suggests that instead of the whole family being deported, Taslima can leave for Bangladesh with her mother while the rest of the family stays in the US.

Cole Frankel, an immigration officer, gets into a car accident with Claire Shepard, an aspiring actress from Australia. Realizing that she is in the country illegally, Cole makes an arrangement with Claire where she will have unlimited sex with him for two months in exchange for a green card. When Cole eventually says he wants to leave his wife for Claire, she makes it clear that she holds him in contempt and is only sleeping with him for the green card. In a moment of clarity, Cole exempts Claire from completing the two months and arranges for Claire to get her green card in the mail. Authorities eventually confront Claire about the suspiciousness in her immigration paperwork and she admits to the sexual arrangement she had with Cole. She leaves the country "voluntarily." Cole is arrested. His wife Denise Frankel adopts a little girl from Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

, who has already been in the detention center for several years.

Brogan has an Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

ian colleague, Hamid Baraheri. Hamid's family disapproves of his sister having sex with Javier Pedroza, a married man. Encouraged by his father, Hamid's brother plans to scare the couple, but things get out of hand and he shoots both of them and goes to Hamid who helps him hide the evidence. Brogan slowly suspects Hamid's involvement as the film progresses.

Also, Javier Pedroza works in a copy shop and made extra money by providing counterfeit immigration papers for undocumenteds. Claire had previously paid him for false papers before she had made her arrangement with Cole. But when Javier was killed, the authorities discovered her documents among his belongings which is what caused immigration to examine her case more closely.

South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

n teenager Yong Kim is about to be naturalized with the rest of his family, but he has started to hang out with a bad crowd and ultimately participates in a convenience store robbery to "pop his cherry" with his gang. Hamid happens to be at the same convenience store and kills the other robbers but (due to his own guilt over his involvement in his sister's death) lets Yong Kim go free.

Gavin Kossef, a Jewish musician (really an atheist) from the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 pretends to be a religious Jew in order to get a job at a Jewish school, which allows him to stay in the U.S. In a test where he has to demonstrate his familiarity with the Jewish religion he does not perform properly, but a rabbi
In Judaism, a rabbi is a teacher of Torah. This title derives from the Hebrew word רבי , meaning "My Master" , which is the way a student would address a master of Torah...

 asked to assess it approves it because of his voice. After the test, in private, the rabbi requires from the immigrant to take lessons from him to eliminate the deficiencies in his knowledge.


  • Harrison Ford
    Harrison Ford
    Harrison Ford is an American film actor and producer. He is famous for his performances as Han Solo in the original Star Wars trilogy and as the title character of the Indiana Jones film series. Ford is also known for his roles as Rick Deckard in Blade Runner, John Book in Witness and Jack Ryan in...

     as ICE Special Agent Max Brogan
  • Ray Liotta
    Ray Liotta
    [File:Ray Liotta is an American actor, best known for his portrayal of Henry Hill in the crime-drama Goodfellas, directed by Martin Scorsese and his role as Shoeless Joe Jackson in Field of Dreams...

     as Cole Frankel
  • Ashley Judd
    Ashley Judd
    Ashley Judd is an American television and film actress, who has played lead roles in films including Ruby in Paradise, Kiss the Girls, Double Jeopardy, Where the Heart Is and High Crimes...

     as Denise Frankel
  • Jim Sturgess
    Jim Sturgess
    James Anthony "Jim" Sturgess is an English actor and singer-songwriter. His breakthrough role was appearing as Jude in the musical romance drama film Across the Universe .-Early life:...

     as Gavin Kossef
  • Cliff Curtis
    Cliff Curtis
    Clifford Vivian Devon "Cliff" Curtis is a New Zealand actor who has had major roles in film, including The Piano, Whale Rider, and Blow, and most recently has appeared in NBC's television series Trauma. He is also co-owner of independent film production company Whenua Films...

     as ICE Special Agent Hamid Baraheri
  • Alice Braga
    Alice Braga
    Alice Braga Moraes is a Brazilian actress. She has appeared in several Brazilian films, most notably as Angélica in 2002's highly acclaimed City of God and as Karina in 2005's Lower City...

     as Mireya Sánchez
  • Alice Eve
    Alice Eve
    Alice Sophia Eve is an English actress. She is known for her lead in She's Out of My League and also appeared in Sex and the City 2. She will also star in the up-coming The Decoy Bride and Men in Black III.- Early life :...

     as Claire Shephard
  • Summer Bishil
    Summer Bishil
    Summer Yasmine Bishil is an American actress. She first came to prominence for her role as Jasira in the 2007 film Towelhead. She has been chosen to portray Azula in the sequel to M. Night Shyamalan's film The Last Airbender....

     as Taslima Jahangir
  • Jacqueline Obradors
    Jacqueline Obradors
    Jacqueline Danell Obradors is an American actress.Obradors was born in San Fernando Valley, California to Argentine immigrants Angie, a church worker, and Albert Obradors, an office cleaning business owner. Before becoming an actress, Jaqueline was a cashier at Hughes Market in Canoga Park,...

     as FBI Special Agent Marina Phadkar
  • Justin Chon as Yong Kim
  • Sarah Shahi
    Sarah Shahi
    Aahoo Jahansouz "Sarah" Shahi is an American actress and a former NFL Cheerleader. She is probably best known for starring in The L Word as Carmen de la Pica Morales and in Life as Detective Dani Reese...

     as Pooneh Baraheri
  • Melody Khazae as Zahra Baraheri
  • Merik Tadros as Farid Baraheri
  • Marshall Manesh
    Marshall Manesh
    Marshall Manesh is an Iranian/American actor.Manesh was born in Mashhad, Iran. He has appeared in the television shows Will & Grace, Entourage, Scrubs, How I Met Your Mother in a recurring role as the Bangladeshi taxi/town car/limo driver Ranjit, Burn Notice, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,...

     as Sanjar Baraheri
  • Nina Nayebi as Minoo Baraheri
  • Naila Azad as Rokeya Jahangir
  • Shelley Malil
    Shelley Malil
    On August 11, 2008, Malil was arrested for attempted murder after he stabbed his ex-girlfriend, Kendra Beebe, 20 times the previous night in San Marcos, California. Beebe, a mother of two, resides in Carlsbad, California...

     as Munshi Jahangir
  • Jamen Nanthakumar as Abul Jahangir
  • Jaysha Patel as Jahanara Jahangir
  • Leonardo Nam
    Leonardo Nam
    Leonardo Nam is an Argentine-born Australian actor of Korean descent.-Early life:Nam was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. At the age of 6, he moved to Sydney, Australia. Nam attended Sydney Technical High School and studied architecture at the University of New South Wales. Nam left Sydney to...

     as Kwan
  • Tim Chiou as Steve
  • West Liang as Mark
  • Mahershalalhashbaz Ali
    Mahershalalhashbaz Ali
    Mahershalalhashbaz Ali is an American actor. He is perhaps best known for his portrayal of Richard Tyler on the USA Network science fiction television series The 4400, and "Tizzy" in the 2008 motion picture The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.Ali was born Mahershalalhashbaz Gilmore in Oakland,...

     as Detective Strickland

Production and distribution

The film originally featured a scene in which an Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

ian character is murdered by her brother in an honor killing
Honor killing
An honor killing or honour killing is the homicide of a member of a family or social group by other members, due to the belief of the perpetrators that the victim has brought dishonor upon the family or community...

, but the National Iranian American Council
National Iranian American Council
The National Iranian American Council is a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit organization "dedicated to advancing the interests of the Iranian-American community." Trita Parsi is the organization's current president and founder.-Formation:...

 opposed the plotline as being unrealistic and offensive, and the killing was presented as a beating-up which got out of hand, removing the dialogue referring to "honor" and "family honor".

Additionally, Sean Penn
Sean Penn
Sean Justin Penn is an American actor, screenwriter and film director, also known for his political and social activism...

 filmed scenes as an immigration cop. However, his scenes were cut due to the controversy over the honor killing plot, though producer Harvey Weinstein later claimed that Penn's agent requested his scenes be cut out of the film.

Though the film was shot in 2007, it was not released until 2009, and even then only in a limited theatrical run. The film's original running length was 140 minutes long, but this film's producer (who had final cut privilege) was convinced to edit the film down to under 2 hours when Harvey Weinstein
Harvey Weinstein
Harvey Weinstein, CBE is an American film producer and movie studio chairman. He is best known as co-founder of Miramax Films. He and his brother Bob have been co-chairmen of The Weinstein Company, their film production company, since 2005...

 threatened to release the film straight to DVD and bypass a theatrical release altogether (in many countries outside of the US, this was the case anyway).

The film was distributed in the United States by MGM
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. is an American media company, involved primarily in the production and distribution of films and television programs. MGM was founded in 1924 when the entertainment entrepreneur Marcus Loew gained control of Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Pictures Corporation and Louis B. Mayer...

 and The Weinstein Company
The Weinstein Company
The Weinstein Company is an American film studio founded by Bob and Harvey Weinstein in 2005 after the brothers left the then-Disney-owned Miramax Films, which they had co-founded in 1979...

. It was given a limited theatrical release on February 27, 2009. It ultimately grossed less than half a million dollars in North America, and just over $2.5 million internationally for a total of $3 million. The film has reportedly made another $1.7 million in US DVD sales.
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