Media Maven: Bella

Media Maven: Bella

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Eduardo Verastegui, Tammy Blanchard, Manny Perez, Ali Landry, Jaime Tirelli


Simply put, “Bella” is a love story. It begins with the main character at the beach. He is watching a little girl and remembering another little girl from his past. Flashbacks and scenes alternating between the present, the future and the past are used to tell this tale of redemption and hope.

Eduardo Verastegui plays the brooding Jose. Jose, who had everything going for him, was almost on the brink of success but lost it all in a moment when tragedy struck. His high profile life changed forever. The passion and the remorse expressed by Verastegui as Jose serve as the basis for teaching us about the fragility of life.

On one ordinary day in New York City, Jose unexpectedly befriends a fellow coworker who gets fired by his brother – the owner of a New York restaurant where both are employed. The coworker is Nina, played by Tammy Blanchard.

The film explores this one ordinary day; the day that Nina discovers she is pregnant. The movie explores what the day unfolds: how she lost her job, how she was befriended by Jose and his family and how her formidable doubt in becoming a single parent is weighed against the choice of terminating the pregnancy.

Both Nina and Jose have reservations about how to live their lives. One mourns the loss of independence and the need to become responsible for another human being. The other mourns the past and a life lost by his own making. How these two people unburden their fears and offer strength in believing in the choice of life is at the core of this love story.

This is the study of the human heart and its resilience to love again and more importantly to forgive oneself for the choices that indelibly mark our lives. What is unusual about this love story is that the two main characters are not in love with each other. That fact makes for a refreshing hook that keeps us curious as to what will happen to these two people.

In this study of two people sharing profound life changes, the script and story are both touching and heart rendering. Unfortunately the technique of flashbacks and images of future possibilities makes for a disjointed, confusing film. Discerning what time frame it is in makes appreciating it all the more difficult.

This is a bittersweet story. If you are patient and can follow the convoluted story timeline then you will be rewarded with a film that goes beyond conventional love stories. It is no wonder it won the 2007 Grand prize for Dramatic Feature at the Heartland Film Festival.

Rating: Four Chic Stars

Jan’s Movie Rating System:
5 – Top notch entertainment
4 – Compelling, Heartwarming, Thrilling, Comical
3 – The a) story b) actors c) special effects saved/made this movie.
2 – If you are bored watch it, or wait for DVD
1 – Don’t bother. Too morose, too violent, too blasé, an enigma.