Saturday, June 14, 2008
Bella far exceeded my expectations. Because it was promoted by pro-life and religious groups, I wondered if it would be stronger in message and weaker in art.
This film is a slow moving unveiling of wounded characters that are so full of longing, fear and regret that they limp through life with crudely constructed walls to protect their crushed hearts. Does anyone really know either of them? Apparently not.
Nina is terrified and pregnant and newly unemployed. Jose enters the picture as a friend when she needs one the most.
One day plays out but past and future appear throughout the day in memories and conversation. A final scene pulls the film together. Interactions with other characters enrich the film. Not only do we understand Nina and Jose, but we are given glimpses into the choices and relationships of secondary characters.
Fans of quick action movies are going to want to pass. Much of this film is characters talking and doing little else. This is a rich study of the strengths and weaknesses in humanity. The acting is impressive. The story of friendship and grace is powerful.
If you are looking for poignancy and a movie that will make you think, I believe you'll find those qualities in Bella. One scene in particular is heart wrenching and involves a child, so you might want to preview it before letting your young children watch it. Though characters were frustrated and angry in the movie, I was pleased to note, that they expressed themselves without flying F-Bombs.