Pulling Strings (film)

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Pulling Strings
Pulling Strings movie poster.jpg
US Poster
Directed byPedro Pablo Ibarra
Screenplay byGabriel Ripstein
Release date
  • October 4, 2013 (2013-10-04) (USA)
  • November 8, 2013 (2013-11-08) (Mexico)
Box office$7.89 million.[1]

Pulling Strings (better known in Spanish as Amor a primera visa) is a 2013 bilingual and Mexican-American romantic comedy film directed by Pitipol Ybarra and starring Laura Ramsey and Jaime Camil. It’s about a single father and struggling Mariachi singer who falls for a U.S. Embassy employee while seeking for a visa for his daughter.


In Mexico City, Alejandro Fernandez is a struggling Mariachi singer whose wife died two years prior. His daughter Maria is struggling in school and hardly sees her father because of his job. To make things better, he is planning to get a visa so Maria would stay with her grandparents in Arizona. However, Rachel denies him a visa. Rachel Simons, an intelligent diplomatic, works for the embassy of the United States of America. After getting promoted in London, Art, her boss, entrusted her last duty to take care of the laptop, loaded with data, until he returns from the out-of-town business. Rachel’s overbearing mother belittles her daughter’s lifestyle because she isn’t happy about her promotion in London. There was a going-away party thrown by Rachel’s co-workers, which included her friend Carol. Alejandro spots Rachel while he performs with his bandmates. After Rachel becomes intoxicated and suddenly left the party, Alejandro finds her attempting to sleep in a bus stop. He helps her up and calls a taxi to bring her into Alejandro's home to rest.

In the morning, Maria tickles Rachel, causing Rachel to panic after she awakens. After finding about her drunken state the night before, she assumes that she misplaced her laptop. As a secret, Alejandro hides it and pretends to help find her computer, with his help of his comical best friend and band member, Carlos Nicanor "Canicas" Castro. Alejandro assumes that if he stays close to her, he can convince her to give him the visa for Maria. To make his plan seem believable, Alejandro calls others in Mexico City that will help him with his plan to obtain a visa. Throughout a duration of two days, he takes Rachel to the bar where she was intoxicated, the embassy, a taxi cab company president, a black-market dealer, and a computer repair shop.

While meeting with the computer repairman, Alejandro forgets that he has to perform for Maria, causing him to be tardy to Maria's school. After spectating his performance, Rachel develops close feelings for Alejandro. Rachel explains that she had a hard time connecting with others. Her father traveled across the world for his job, before he died away from his family, which made it difficult for Rachel to bond with other people and develop strong relationships.

Prior to those two days, Alejandro was supposed to pay the money to Hapi, a loan shark. Because of not paying, Hapi has his home burgled. Alejandro presumes that Hapi also stole the laptop. Alejandro has three hours to pay him 20,000 pesos. In order to meet this amount of money, Rachel suggests the idea of selling his albums and performing with his band. After singing one of his songs, the two kissed. When Alejandro arrives to pay Hapi, he refuses, because he is short 2,000 pesos. As a last resort, Rachel gives Hapi her watch that her boss gave to her. While retaking his things, Alejandro and Canicas see that the computer was not in the laptop case, but do not reveal this fact to Rachel. When the three arrive home, Alejandro sees the computer lying on his table with a note from Maria. He takes this note and has Canicas put the computer back in the laptop case and give it back to Rachel.

Throughout her experience, Rachel was happy that she lost the laptop because she met Alejandro, and they sleep together. In the morning, she finds Maria's stickers on the keyboard of the laptop and feels betrayed that Alejandro manipulated Rachel to obtain a visa. Alejandro tries to explain that the city is not a safe environment for his daughter, which is why he wanted a visa. Rachel leaves and refuses to speak to him.

After leaving him, Alejandro becomes depressed due to his actions. Rachel still chooses London to make things better. Her mother finally accepts her daughter’s choices regarding her career. She wants what’s best for Rachel, and that’s all it matters to her. Canicas tries to cheer Alejandro up. As Rachel is getting ready to leave for London, Carol and Canicas help drive Alejandro to the airport to apologize and tell her that he loves her and attempts to persuade her to stay. He also explains the truth about making things right for Maria. But she refuses and leaves, still heartbroken. One month later, Maria finishes 3rd Grade. During the evening, Alejandro and Maria hear mariachi music through the window and sees Rachel. Rachel reveals that she still has feelings for Alejandro, saying “there’s no you in London.” The two embrace and kiss.


  • Laura Ramsey as Rachel Simons
  • Jaime Camil as Alejandro Fernandez
  • Omar Chaparro as Carlos Nicanor "Canicas" Castro
  • Tom Arnold as Art, Rachel’s boss
  • Stockard Channing as Virginia, Rachel’s mother
  • Catherine Papile as Carol, Rachel’s friend and co-worker
  • Roberto Sosa as Hapi
  • Renata Ybarra as Maria, Alejandro’s daughter


Strings happen to be based in Mexico’s capital and showcases everything the city has to offer. Jaime’s Alejandro character has to help Rachel locate a missing computer and, in the interim, introduces her to a lively culture she never knew existed. But as a director for Ybarra, there were some issues when it came to meshing the English and Spanish components. Ybarra, who is a Mexican native, had to learn to overcome a slight language barrier when instructing his American actors.[2]


Pulling Strings was released in theaters on October 4, 2013. It was released on DVD on February 25, 2014.[3]

Box office[edit]

Total domestic gross is $5,842,961. The opening weekend in the USA was $2,467,168. In worldwide, the total lifetime gross was $7,891,478.[1]


The film has a 58% approval rating on the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 12 reviews with an average rating of 5.6/10s.[4]


  1. ^ a b Pulling Strings at Box Office Mojo
  2. ^ Lopez, Michael. "'Pulling Strings' Is Next Bilingual Movie From Pantelion Film Studio (TRAILER)". Huffpost Latino Voices. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  3. ^ "Pulling Strings (2013)". DVD Release Dates. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  4. ^ Pulling Strings at Rotten Tomatoes

External links[edit]