PG-13 for thematic elements and brief disturbing images.
Oct. 26, 2007
Sophie Nyweide, Eduardo Verastegui, Ramon Rodriguez, Tammy Blanchard, Manny Perez
Alejandro Gomez Monteverde
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- Bella opens up with the wonderful narration, "If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans."
Jose has just been signed to a big soccer contract. Filled with joy, he signs a frayed old soccer ball for some of the street kids on the block and then promises to get the ball signed by all their favorite stars. Jose is a good-looking, clean-cut, athletic young man at the top of his game.
The movie cuts to a bearded, down-hearted Jose cooking in his brother Manny's restaurant. When Nina, the waitress, arrives too late, Manny fires her. Jose goes after her just to befriend her, not to romance her. He finds out she is pregnant and contemplating an abortion. He asks her if she'll consider adoption. He even says that he will take the child.
Manny, meanwhile, is furious that Jose, his top chef, has walked out. Jose, however, is trying to help Nina. He takes her to his parents house on Long Island. There, he finally tells the story of how the fateful day when he was signed as a soccer star, he ran over a little girl and was sent to prison for involuntary manslaughter.
Jose's family is a delightful group of Spanish-speaking immigrants. One parent is Puerto Rican and the other parent is Mexican. They love each other deeply.
The ending of Bella will bring tears to many eyes. Produced by Mel Gibson's former partner for a very low budget and directed by a young man just out of film school, Bella is an amazing movie. Audiences who have screened it have loved the movie, and most have ended up crying. It is not a perfect movie. There are a few slow moments as a result of missing plot points or other structural problems, but otherwise the movie is incredibly captivating for those who like character studies. Jose's character clearly has some Christological elements. The acting is superb. The scene between Manny and Jose is so lively and natural that it brings back memories of childhood friendships.
Bella has some positive prayers, positive statements about God, and wonderful pro-life, allegorical elements. It is not preachy or off-putting, but delightful and winsome. Movieguide® highly recommends Bella and commends all those who made this wonderful, lyrical movie.
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