Review: All We Carry


What is it like to be threatened by ruthless gangs and then, when you go to the police, discover that they are being paid off by those same gangs? There are people in the US who know all too well what that is like, but most of us don’t. Even for those who do, there is the option to get out of town and restart somewhere else in the country. Not so, if the gangs run wild throughout your country, however.

“All We Carry” is the story of a young couple – Mirna, Magdiel and their little son Joshua – who travel in a migrant caravan from gang-infested Honduras, through Mexico via freight train (called “The Beast” because of how dangerous it is) and bus to Tijuana and the border of the US.

There, near the forbidding “Donald Trump’s Wall,” they are married and eventually make their way through customs, seeking asylum. These people are among the lucky ones: they have a sponsor – a Jewish Synagogue in West Seattle, Washington. Thus they are admitted and given an asylum adjudication date two years in the future.

These kind folks of Seattle make a house available to them in an enchanting spot overlooking Puget Sound, with furniture, clothing, etcetera provided through donations. For this small family, fleeing death and the threat of death, and from humble surroundings, it is an enormous change.

Writer-director Cady Voge has captured the struggle of people fleeing intolerable threats who seek sanctuary in the relative safety of the United States. This is her directorial debut, but she is a freelance journalist and documentarian based in Colombia who often reports from Central America, Mexico and the US. Through her work, she has shown us not just the immigrants’ travel and gradual adjustment to life in the US, but also the anguish of waiting for the asylum decision, and the psychological burden that these asylum seekers, so often denigrated by our elected leaders as undesirables and a burden on our society, carry with them. Hence the name of her documentary.

This is not a “preachy” film. Rather, it concentrates on the physical and psychological transition of a young couple building a family after coming close to losing everything, including their lives, in the land of their birth. No blame is laid, and perhaps that is a weakness of the story. We are only introduced to their pain gradually as the 127 minutes of the piece play out. We don’t see them making the decision to flee while still in Honduras, and we know little of what happens to them after the asylum adjudication. These are things that would enrich the story.

We do know that Magdiel’s father was murdered shortly after Joshua’s birth, and that Magdiel sorely misses him and the guidance he wishes he had from him. And we know that Mirna’s brother was hunted down and murdered by narcocartel thugs, and that her entire family was threatened with the same fate. Both parents suffer from the loss and the fear – and these are things they carry

This is a remarkable debut by Cady Voge and we should hear and see more from her in the future.


Director: Cady Voge
Writers: Cady Voge, Rachel Clara Reed
Producers: Laura Pilloni, Laura Tatham
Cinematographer: Cady Voge
Editor: Rachel Clara Reed
Music: Alejandro Starosielski, Eziequiel Tarica
Runtime: One hour, 28 minutes
Availability: Various Film Festivals in 2024

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