Saturday, November 17, 2007

Bella- Why the Bad Reviews?

Last night, my wife and I went to see the movie "Bella". Set in New York City, the plot revolves around a young, single woman who finds herself pregnant and suddenly fired from her job. She is befriended by a male co-worker, with whom she confides her predicament and intention to get an abortion. As the movie progresses, the young man takes her to meet his close-knit, God-fearing family. Along the way, he brings up the idea of adoption as an alternative to abortion. That is the subtle message of the movie. As for violence, nudity, evil characters, there is none-with just enough language to earn a PG-13 rating.

Altogether, I enjoyed the movie, although the ending was a little anti-climactic, sort of like a paragraph without a concluding sentence. Nevertheless, it left us with a warm feeling. Not so the New York Times and other mainstream press reviewers. As the movie started, I recalled that this movie had gathered mostly negative reviews, so I decided to research some of them. I concentrated solely on the newspapers and neglected blogs, organizations and other reviewers. Here is a sampling of what I found:

New York Times
An Urban Fairy Tale
by Stephen Holden

"It's 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 signifigant plot glitches and inconsistencies- is allowed to get in the way of its bear-hugging embrace of sweetness and light......

....If "Bella" (the title doesn't make sense until the last scene) 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."

El Paso Times

" once half-baked and overdone, with an earnest pro-life message at its core."

Orlando Sentinel
Roger Moore

"Bella is a strained dollop of Latin 'magical realism' injected into a realistic American indie movie."

Boston Globe

"Jose's real fixation is on Nina's unborn baby for whom Nina herself appears to have little regard..."

"....The film's agenda, however, is hardly the problem. 'Bella' extols the joys and benefits of family life and parenthood without so much as knocking on the door of controversy."

The Buffalo News
Connie Ogle (McClatchey Newspapers)

''Bella' won the People's Choice Award at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival, but it's hard to say what the audience was thinking...."

"Surely the festival screened more entertaining films than the amateurish 'Bella', a slight fable about a soccer star turned chef who tries to persuade a pregnant co-worker he barely knows not to have an abortion. The film is more of an exercise in pandering and propaganda-give your baby up for adoption, you selfish pig!-than the heartfelt drama it aims to be...."

...."'Bella', insubstancial and trite, is as forgettable as a movie can be."

This is how mainstream newspaper movie critics dismiss this film for having the temerity to subtly suggest adoption and life as an alternative to abortion. It is the same old arrogant and dismissive attitude that the left shows to any expression that is contrary to their own agenda. Ms Ogle's emotional reference to "selfish pig" was a line never uttered in the film-not even close. One suspects that had this film reversed its message to favor abortion, with plenty of violence, nudity and foul language, the same critics would be gushing in their praise, with Oscars to follow.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this interesting post. It just highlights the culture wars that we've been in for the past 4 decades in our country. Those elitists who hate Christian moral values vs. the rest of us. I pray that Bella will change hearts and minds on the subject of abortion. God bless you.

Gary Fouse said...

Thank you for your kind comment, and God bless you as well.