Friday, October 26, 2007

Bella

I just saw it with 11 other guys from the seminary. The theater was packed and everyone applauded at the end (although I may have had something to do with that). Everyone who offered an opinion afterwards liked it. The critics have not been as positive. Rotten Tomatoes, a usually reliable indicator me gave it a 40% rating (although I've been questioning RT lately because it gave Eastern Promises and 82% and it was probably the worst film I've seen since A History of Violence, done by the same people).
I'd recommend two reviews of Bella. American Papist has a very positive review. This is in shocking contrast to another very reliable Catholic Blogger Barbara Nicolosi from Church of the Masses who doesn't have many positives things say except that she likes Eduardo Verastegui. I suggest reading them both. Although they don't contain any serious plot spoilers, I would suggest reading them after watching the movie, because (like all movies) its better to see films without that kind of bias going into it. If you haven't seen it, you might want to come back to this.....

As for myself, I disagree with both reviewers in certain ways. American Papist said that the movie was "well told." Although I didn't think it was badly told I thought there were some improvements that could have been made. This was mostly in the dialogue. The conversations between the main characters, Jose (Eduardo Verastegui) and Nina (Tammy Blanchard), did not strike me as being very, well, REAL. I took one quarter of creative writing in college and I learned a concept that you, "Show! Don't Tell!" Well, in the context of Bella, they could have shown that she was poor, afraid, and not ready to have a baby without having Nina just overtly stating "I'm poor," "I'm afraid," and "I'm not ready to have a baby."

But I consider this minor and definitely did not ruin what was (for me) a very moving film.

Nicolosi (we actually have a couple of mutual friends, although I've never met her) was very critical of the whole project (even some of the people who made it) and weaved quotes from the secular critics throughout her review which all demonstrated the film was not good. Her main problem is that Christians blindly jumped on the Bella bandwagon, completely over-hyped it, and labeled it "the greatest pro-life film ever," when in fact we could have done much better. She might be right (at least I know I blindly jumped on the bandwagon without seeing it). But, the film wasn't as bad as she seems to say. I thought was a great first attempt from Metanoia Films, and it showed promising signs of good things to come.

NOTE: I have one other comment to make but I'm really tired and I just can't quite get it to sound the way I want it to. If you're interested, check back tomorrow.

2 comments:

Barbara said...

Thanks so much for being fair in synthesizing what I said. Others are not being so kind and are calling into question my expertise, my intelligence, and even my Catholicism!

The problem is, if Bella is "great!" then what do we have left for a profound, and stunningly crafted Catholic movie like "The Assassination of Jesse James"? If only there was a bandwagon for that film - which was written by a devout Catholic, Ron Hansen. It deserves a bandwagon, whereas Bella deserves some encouragement, but not raves.

God bless -

Seminarian said...

Barbara,

Thanks for the comment. Its sad to hear that people are questioning your expertise, intelligence, and your Catholicism on something that really has nothing to do with any of these. Its just an opinion about a movie! Its not like you denied the Incarnation or something!

I'm going to try to see
"Jesse James" sometime soon. Hopefully it will still be in theaters when I finally have a chance to sit down and watch a 3 hour movie.

Thanks for the visit and God Bless!