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An international soccer star (Eduardo Verastegui) is on his way to sign a multimillion dollar contract when something happens that brings his career to an abrupt end. A beautiful waitress (Tammy Blanchard), struggling to make it in New York City, discovers something about herself that she's unprepared for. In one irreversible moment, their lives are turned upside down...until a simple gesture of kindness brings them both together, turning an ordinary day into an unforgettable experience.
Life is a complicated journey in which right and wrong are sometimes indistinct and where the things that really matter are often unclear. Bella is a powerful, leisurely-paced film in which Jose (Eduardo Verastegui) and Nina (Tammy Blanchard) struggle to do what's right while seeking meaning in their lives. A quiet, brooding man with a dark past, Jose works as a chef in his brother Manny's (Manny Perez) restaurant where he mostly keeps to himself until young waitress Nina is fired. Touched by Manny's unfair treatment of Nina, Jose impulsively leaves work to follow Nina and spends a day with her where he discovers that she is pregnant and alone. The two become incredibly close in the space of a day, sharing their pasts, feelings, and fears, and a lasting friendship is born. As Nina struggles with her pregnancy options and Jose comes to terms with a horrific incident from his past, the pair's newfound friendship aids in growth and healing. In the end, Jose and Nina's lives become permanently intertwined in a most beautiful and unexpected way. Bella is a moving, introspective film that will inspire serious personal reflection. --Tami Horiuchi
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Top Customer Reviews
BELLA runs a little over 90 minutes, but there are plenty of complexities within the storyline. The film also confronts the issue of perceptions, and how people perceive one another without complete communication. As the film proceeds, the character's stories are intricately told in quick snapshots. The most interesting aspect of the film is how it starts at a fast pace revealing fragments of the main characters' lives, Jose (Eduardo Verastegui), a Chef, and Nina (Tammy Blanchard), a waitress, who work for Jose's brother, Manny (Manny Perez). One day Nina is 20 minutes late for work because she was very ill; unfortunately she gets fired without having to completely explain her situation -- she's pregnant. And this incident begins the film, and Nina's constant pondering of what to do with the rest of her life, keep the child or abort it, and Jose confronting his demons of a past life he left behind four years ago.
There are plenty of moving scenes in the film that tug at the heartstrings. However, there are two scenes that stood out. One of them is when Nina and Jose walk along the street and talk to a blind man who makes paper origami figures, and offers Nina a figure that looks like a frog. Not knowing that he is blind, it is only when he asks Nina to describe to him what the city streets look like, that she realizes his blindness, and the second is the surprise ending of the film. It is scenes like these that make the littlest or biggest tokens of kindness more meaningful in one's life.
Alejandro Gomez Monteverde wrote and directed Bella, and the film won the People's Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival. After watching the film, it is worthy of an Academy Award nomination as well. Indeed, this is a gem of a film that any movie viewer may want to get a glimpse because of its excellent storytelling and film making.
What I can say is that it has the following as key themes:
- How our lives can change in a moment and take us radically different directions than we planned
- Strong pro-life & pro-adoption message without being too in-your-face preachy.
- The importance of truly caring about and engaging with the people all around us - i.e. finding out their "story"
- Reaching beyond your own pain to help someone else (and in the process, helping yourself)
- The importance of family and faith
- A positive view of latino culture without many of the standard stereotypes found in other movies
This is an emotionally moving, ultimately uplifting film that has a very "real" quality to it, which is fairly rare. It was filmed/produced in a "modern" way so there's more jerky camera movement, etc. which did grate on me a tad (i.e. it got old quick), but did contribute to the "real" quality and help draw you into the story (and thus the characters). The acting was quite impressive!
This is not a "preachy" movie with words so much as it preaches with its story. It allows you to see and discover the message yourself as it plays out. This movie is not "overtly Christian", though many of its key themes as shown above are ones that are very supportive and positive for Christians.
As for things that concerned me: Like a number of films, this one has an undercurrent that God wants or causes the hurt and pain we see in our world. In this film's case though, it's a pretty mild undercurrent except for 1 scene where a blind guy is holding a sign that says something like "God made me blind, now I can truly see." (which while an interesting statement, is a bit unfair to assume God's the one that actively caused the blindness/wants him blind, etc.) Other than that, the only thing that really threw me off a bit with this film is that it seemed very rushed at the end. So much so that I actually briefly wondered if I had accidentally pressed the "forward" button on my remote and skipped some scenes (I didn't). It seemed like another 5-10 minutes or so could have really helped fill in a bit more at the end. With that said, the ending still "worked" and made its point effectively.
All things considered, this is a unique movie that has a "modern" and "realistic" flavor that won't appeal to everyone, but is an engaging, positive, uplifting movie in the final analysis.
MoviesForChristians Movie Reviews
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In exchange for a quick solution to a "problem," those who scream, "a right to choose," inadvertently cheat themselves out of something, and that is the transformational quality of suffering even for a short time. Every society knows that the human explosion of wisdom and love that manifests itself after one has suffered is something that the secular world races to avoid and in doing so short change themselves of the true experience of what it means to be human.
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