A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints illustrates that it's still possible to do something interesting with a familiar premise. Writer/director Dito Montiel, who has based the film on his memoirs, tells the story of a man who escaped from his "old" neighborhood to find success elsewhere, and hasn't looked back since. Now, with his father on his deathbed, he is trying to bridge a twenty year gap. The movie is not without flaws - editing has left parts of the film feeling choppy, there are a few too many directorial "flourishes," and the modern day segments get short shrift - but the performances are heartfelt and the ways in which Montiel refuses to oversentimentalize the story work.
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