After watching the award-winning film Bella I have mixed feelings about it. Am I glad I saw it? Yes. Would I recommend it to others? My answer would be a qualified yes. I like the movie but not the manner it is being presented, or rather misrepresented, by the media campaign surrounding it.
I prefer storylines that tell us what it is we're signing up for. Disney's "Enchanted is a film just as mushy, gushy, and lovey-dovey as Bella is. The difference is Enchanted asks its question from the beginning: "can a storybook view of romance survive in the real world?" It then proceeds to show that it can. There is hope. Individuals can make a difference.
Even though we're told Bella is "a love story that goes beyond romance," Bella is, above all, a movie "about a cause that matters." I would have preferred knowing beforehand that the cause was abortion. Is abortion such a divisive force that its part in the film needed to be kept under wraps in the advertising copy? It is true that Bella deals with the abortion issue. It's also true it goes beyond the rhetoric and into the humanity surrounding it, both that of the unborn baby and that of those close to its mother. The movie is a good vehicle for delivering truth in a caring and sensitive manner and deserves to employ truth in advertising in its media campaign.
Bella, directed by Alejandro Monteverde, won the People�s Choice Award at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival, considered to be "the most influential film festival in the world." Even though it deals with a particularly controversial issue in America today, it also deals with mistakes we make that can haunt us for the rest of our lives. It's about how things that happen can kill the passion in us, the passion for living, for engaging life in all its fullness.
Bella is about family and friendship. It's about options and consequences surrounding decision-making. It's about hope and healing. It's a movie about everyday heroes and the ability they have to make humanity hopeful, beautiful and uplifting.
When you Google "Bella the movie" you'll find most folks, but not all, raving about it. Stephen Holden, of the NY Times, gave it a scathing review,
It is not hard to see why Bella, a saccharine trifle directed by Alejandro Monteverde, won the People�s Choice Award at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival. This is a movie that wears its bleeding heart on its sleeve and loves its characters to distraction. Nothing�not even significant plot glitches and inconsistencies�is allowed to get in the way of its bear-hugging embrace of sweetness and light. [Stephen Holden/NY Times].
A film uses its artistic components to evoke a particular emotional response from audiences. Plot glitches and inconsistencies do make it hard for viewers to suspend disbelief and embrace the storyline. I'm not sure which plot glitch or inconsistency Holden is referring to. For me the movie's storyline worked. It was straight forward.
In his review, Holden brings out a point worth noting, "If Bella...is a mediocre cup of mush, the response to it suggests how desperate some people are for an urban fairy tale with a happy ending, no matter how ludicrous." This is good news for writers to create other such stories. I love to read books or watch movies with that type of ending. Based on the endorsements, awards, and reviews Bella is receiving, I'm not the only one who feels this way.
In addition to its #1 message on the topic of abortion, that there are options one can take besides aborting a human being, the other themes woven throughout the storyline are what would make this a movie worth watching and recommending. You won't be disappointed if you go prepared to see a slow and melodious story rich in values, hope and love. Know beforehand that it'll ask you to think about abortion and much more. Bella will ask you to consider what is true and beautiful and worth doing today in order to make this a better world for us all. Watch Bella and tell me what you think by posting your comments to my blog.