Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Movie Review: Bella

I'm a tough critic when it comes to media. If I'm going to spend time and money, I want the material to be well crafted and to have a worthwhile message. I'm even cool with something light, and silly, if it fits my sense of humor and doesn't leave me feeling scummy. But not much out there gets past my quality filter and into my "wanna own it" list. I like a lot of movies okay, but many don't appeal to me beyond a first, or maybe even a second viewing, as its flaws just don't end up seeming worth my time.

Having said all this, I think that Bellais just about perfect.

Beautifully filmed, written, and acted, with an inspiring message to boot. There are a few bits that were flawed. I noticed two minor visual technical weaknesses, which were a touch distracting for me during those scenes, but nothing terrible, and they seemed more due to the film's lower budget as an independent film than any inability of the filmmakers. The storytelling and acting were so strong that they more than overcame these two minor visual weaknesses. Atthe end of the film there is a passage of time that didn't seem very well conveyed, and thus left me a bit confused for a few moments until I realized that it wasn't the next day, but a few years down the road.

I should say I sat down to watch the movie with no previous knowledge of the film other than what the cover had to say. Coming to it with no great expectation allowed the film's simplicity and nuanced performances to do what they were intended to do. That is, tell a good story, without pomp, but with dignity, warmth, and an eye and ear for what is beautiful about life. That is, what is beautiful about real life, rather than movie life.

I considered embedding a trailer, but the trailer was pretty weak. Better than this is the interview with star and co-producer Eduardo Verastegui at The interview is on the left hand side, just under the movie images on the left.

“A Perfect Film, An Artisitc Masterpiece”
Tony Bennet, Grammy & Emmy Award Winning Singer/Songwriter

Warm, sweet and funny.
Roger Ebert,

“The Best movie of the Year. Everyone should see this film.”
Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life

“A sweet, life-affirming picture”
Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times

“A bear-hugging embrace of sweetness and light”
Stephen Holden, The New York Times

Versategui is a natural on the big screen, a compelling presence.
Ruthe Stein, San Fransico Chronicle

Powerful and moving… a true inspiration.
CNN, Ana Maria Montero


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