We were tipped off to the existence of a newly released movie titled Bella, starring former Mexican superstar actor Eduardo Verástegui (described as “the Brad Pitt of Mexico” in one blog) by the Rebelution blog. We decided to make a date of it and went to watch the movie last Friday on its opening night.
The movie chronicles a day in the life of its two main characters: José, the main chef in his brother’s Latino-themed restaurant in New York City, and Nina, a waitress in the same restaurant. What’s marvelous, though, is that the movie, though billed as “a true love story” is anything but what you might expect. Rather than a typical Hollywood romance, instead the movie is a subtle but compelling presentation of the preciousness of life even amidst its complexities. The story delves into Nina’s present-day troubles as they intersect with José’s tragic past, and how they both find hope and promise for the future (and freedom from the past) as they unexpectedly spend a day together under trying circumstances.
What we enjoyed about the movie were an engaging story line, up-close and compelling cinematography (even in the big city), great acting and character development, a believable plot, and most importantly, a beautiful underlying message about the gift of life. Prior to watching the movie, Lois did some research and read more about the life of Verástegui, and how he came to faith in the Lord Jesus four years ago, and the transformation in his life that has taken place and borne fruit in this movie (and others to come from his newly founded production company, Metanoia Films).
This film is wonderfully made and should appeal to people from all walks of life. Rather than a cliched “Christian” film in which someone messes up, “gets religion,” and whose problems are all solved; Bella instead shows how easy it is to get derailed from what’s important, and how powerful an impact one can make in others’ lives with a commitment to treasure life in all its facets and complexities. One might even argue this is what “Christian” art should look like: not a mere knock-off or poor imitation of the world, but a uniquely fresh vision and celebration of the world as God intends us to see and live.
One caveat: the hand-camera filming technique made my wife nauseated about a third of the way through the film.
Bella tells a beautiful and moving story which reminded us powerfully of how precious life is. We recommend it highly.
View a trailer here.