Gifted and dynamic actress Lumi Cavazos appeared in the Mexican feature "Romelia's Secret" (1989) before landing the role that would prove her breakthrough in Alfonso Arau's "Like Water for Chocolate"...
Psychiatric nurse Maggie O'Connor (Kim Basinger) raises her drug-addicted sister's baby who grows up to be a girl with "special" gifts like the ability to rock a dead bird back to life. When Cody turns 6 her mother returns to claim her. The trouble is mom is now married to Eric Stark (Rufus Sewell) leader of a Satanic cult masquerading as a self-help group. Stark wants Cody to use her powers for the "dark side " and will kill her if she refuses. Aunt Maggie enlists the aid of FBI agent John Travis (Jimmy Smits) to help her track down and save Cody.
Basinger 's passive bearing and scrubbed-down glamour seem out of place in the dingy New York settings. When Stark's snarling teenage-runaway groupies attack her they seem as angry at her smooth blond coif as anything else. Sewell does what he can with lines like "death would be a kinder fate" and "she will be ours" (this last line uttered while practically shaking his fist at the heavens). Vastly underused is Smits whose all-talk-and-no-action FBI agent wouldn't have lasted a day in "NYPD Blue's" precinct.
Although director Chuck Russell captures a rich textured look and lays on the ghoulish special effects (a river of red-eyed rats ominous whispers wraithlike demons) "Bless the Child" doesn't generate any real chill. It's not helped by the script which throws in every clich‚ possible about angels demons hellfire and brimstone. There's no avoiding comparison with "The Sixth Sense " the success of which surely must have put some heat under this project. Unfortunately it's a little too cooked.
Starred as a woman struggling to maintain her failing marriage in "Mascara"
Gave a fine comedic performance as a non-English speaking maid in Wes Anderson's "Bottle Rocket"
Appeared in the Mexican thriller "Fiber Optics"
Appeared in the Mexican production "Snakes and Ladders", a coming-of-age 1950s period piece
Was featured in the post-Civil War Western "Last Stand at Sabre River", a TNT original starring Tom Selleck
First US feature, the independent "Land of Milk and Honey"
Appeared in the Mexican feature "Romelia's Secret"
Played photographer Tina Modotti in Andrea Centazzo's modern opera "Tina" on the Los Angeles stage
Starred in the acclaimed film adaptation of Laura Esquivel's Mexican Revolution-set epicurean romance "Like Water for Chocolate"; co-starred with Marco Leonardi
Played a singer pursuing a married member of her touring back up band in "Sugar Town", a look at the L.A. music scene co-written and co-directed by Alison Anders and Kurt Voss
Again acted with Leonardi in the Italian features "Banditi" and "Viva San Isidoro!"
Appeared opposite real-life love Marco Leonardi in "Manhattan Merengue"
Had supporting role in the supernatural thriller "Bless the Child"
Gifted and dynamic actress Lumi Cavazos appeared in the Mexican feature "Romelia's Secret" (1989) before landing the role that would prove her breakthrough in Alfonso Arau's "Like Water for Chocolate". In this mystical romance set against the backdrop of the Mexican Revolution, she was Tita, the youngest daughter whom tradition dictates is fated to spend her life in service to her controlling widowed mother. When Tita's true love (played by Italian-born Marco Leonardi, who became Cavazos' offscreen companion) weds her sister in order to stay near to her, she expresses her unconsummated passion through cooking. Cavazos shone in the role, her dark beatific beauty and transcendent performance proved enchanting to international moviegoers, including the surprisingly large audience the film won in the USA. Looking to make the most of her increased visibility to an American audience, the dark-haired actress with the large expressive eyes relocated from her Mexican home to Los Angeles in pursuit of a film career. She went on to act in "Snakes and Ladders" (1992), another Mexican production before appearing opposite Leonardi in Joseph B Vasquez's final film "Manhattan Merengue" (1994). The couple additionally acted together in the Italian features "Banditi" and "Viva San Isidoro" (both 1995). That same year, Cavazos earned her first credit in an official US production with a role in the independent "Land of Milk and Honey". Next up was an impressive comedic turn as a Cuban motel maid romanced by Luke Wilson in Wes Anderson's acclaimed "Bottle Rocket" (1996). While the role was substantial and her work praised by critics, it didn't do as much to further her American film career as it could have, primarily because it required her to speak only Spanish and did not exhibit her improving English-language skills. That opportunity arose with a featured turn in the 1997 TNT original movie "Last Stand at Sabre River", a post-Civil War western starring Tom Selleck and on the Los Angeles stage as photographer Tina Modotti in Andrea Centazzo's modern opera "Tina" in 1998.
1999 saw Cavazos win a pair of English-speaking roles in American productions, proving her relocation to the United States to pursue acting work a fruitful endeavor. In the independent "Mascara", the actress gave an impressive performance as Laura, a newlywed whose quest for perfection threatens to ruin her as she struggles to save her already rocky marriage, cure her husband of his financial problems and keep her conservative parents happy. She followed with a keen turn as a popular Mexican singer in "Sugar Town", Allison Anders and Kurt Voss' look at the smaller scale music scene in Los Angeles. Cavazos had one of the more interesting and morally ambiguous roles in the film, as a confident and powerful woman intent on seducing a happily married guitar player (John Doe) she pointedly recruited for her touring backup band. With her career on the rise, she segued to a supporting role in the major Hollywood release "Bless the Child" (2000), which starred Kim Basinger as a woman protecting her young niece from the drug addict mother who abandoned her years before when the woman returns with wealthy husband in tow, both evil occultists who seek to tap into the girl's supernatural powers.
born c. 1971; Italian; met during filming of "Like Water for Chocolate" in 1991; together since that time; acted together in several other projects
"In general, [Hollywood] has focused on the problems of the illegals coming to this country when having Latino characters. I don't want to play the typical characters for Latinos. We should break with that stereotype." --Lumi Cavazos quoted in LOS ANGELES TIMES, May 31, 1998