Washington Heights (2002) - Synopsis

In the Latino neighborhood of New York City's Washington Heights, two sons of immigrants-one Dominican, one Irish-wrestle with ambition and identity, only to discover that sometimes pursuing one's dreams comes at a heavy cost.

Carlos Ramirez, 28, lives in the Dominican neighborhood of Washington Heights in New York City, where his father Eddie runs a local bodega. Carlos works in the East Village as an inker of comics, but is developing his own project he hopes to sell to a well-known publisher. Mickey Kilpatrick is the sweet-natured superintendent of their building, whose loopy dreams of becoming a professional bowler are met with only derision and confusion by his father Sean. Needless to say, both Carlos and Mickey are burning to get out of the Heights.

Unlike their sons, Eddie and Sean are immigrants, or children of immigrants, who have made peace with their unfulfilled dreams. Like Carlos and Mickey, Sean and Eddie are best friends. In fact, Sean has made the mistake of lending Eddie $25,000 to cover his profligate spending. When Eddie is shot and paralyzed from the waist down during an attempted robbery, Sean prevails on Carlos to take over the store to protect his investment. For Carlos - who has been challenged by his mentor to rework a superficial comic strip into something with depth and substance -running the store is the last thing on his mind.

Nevertheless, Carlos puts his artistic aspirations on hold to take over the store and care for his father. Together, they work through their mutual mistrust and their shared grief over the death of Carlos' mother Rosario. At the same time, Mickey steals money from an apartment to help himself and Carlos to fulfill their ambitions - with tragic consequences. Through it all, Carlos comes to understand that if he is to make it as a comic artist, he must engage with the community he comes from, take that experience back out into the world, and put it in his work.