Critics Consensus

Selena occasionally struggles to tell its subject's story with depth or perspective, but those flaws are rendered largely irrelevant by Jennifer Lopez in the title role.



Reviews Counted: 42

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Average Rating: 3.2/5

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Movie Info

Selena Quintanilla was a major figure in Tejano music, a Grammy-winning recording artist, a beloved star in the American Southwest and Mexico, and seemed poised to cross over into mainstream popularity on the U.S. pop charts when she was murdered on March 31, 1995 by the president of her fan club. Written and directed by Gregory Nava, this biopic concentrates on Selena's relationship with her family and her rise to fame, dealing only briefly with her tragic death. Abraham Quintanilla (Edward James Olmos) is a veteran musician who leads a family-based singing group, The Dinos. At a young age, he notices that his daughter Selena (played as a child by Becky Lee Meza) has a strong singing voice, and he works her into the act (her big number is a version of Over the Rainbow). However, as she grows older, Selena (played as an adult by Jennifer Lopez) wants to establish her own musical identity; while her heritage is Mexican-American, her primary language is English, and her favorite artists are American pop acts like Donna Summer. While Selena and Abraham sometimes argue about the musical direction of the group, he always respects and supports her talent, and her blend of Tejano roots music and danceable pop rhythms soon sparks a revolution in Latin music. Selena later earns the wrath of her father when she becomes romantically involved with Chris Perez (Jon Seda), a rebellious and long-haired guitarist hired to play with the group, but when they elope and Selena convinces Abraham that their love is sincere, Chris is welcomed into the family. After a long string of successes on the Latin charts and playing to a sellout crowd at the Houston Astrodome and a crowd of 100,000 at a stadium in Monterey, Mexico, Selena begins recording her first album in English, which is expected to make her a mainstream star on the level of Whitney Houston or Gloria Estefan. However, the fates decreed it was an album she would never complete. Selena was produced with the participation of the Quintanilla Family (Abraham was executive producer), and Selena's own recordings were used on the soundtrack. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

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Jennifer Lopez
as Selena Quintanilla Perez
Edward James Olmos
as Abraham Quintanilla Sr.
Jon Seda
as Chris Perez
Constance Marie
as Marcela Quintanilla
Jacob Vargas
as Abie Quintanilla
Jackie Guerra
as Suzette Quintanilla
Rebecca Lee Meza
as Young Selena
Richard Coca
as Bobby-Dinos 1961
Lupe Ontiveros
as Yolanda Saldivar
Ruben Gonzales
as Joe Ojeda
Panchito Gomez
as Young Abraham-Dinos 1961
Victoria Elena Flores
as Young Suzette
Rafael Tamayo
as Young Abie
Leon Singer
as Concert Promoter
Ruben Gonzalez
as Joe Ojeda
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News & Interviews for Selena

Critic Reviews for Selena

All Critics (42) | Top Critics (11)

  • What makes this movie work is Jennifer Lopez's electric performance as Selena, capturing the charismatic aspects of Selena's stage persona and the essence of her maturity as a growing woman.

    Mar 21, 2017 | Full Review…
  • Selena surmounts its connect-the-dots approach to its heroine's life to create an appealing, energetic look at a too-briefly soaring musical star.

    Mar 27, 2009

    Todd McCarthy

    Top Critic
  • By the end of the film, Selena has been all but canonized.

    May 20, 2003
  • Nava, who started his feature-film career with El Norte, is a good director who invariably finds a strong rapport with his actors. He's not much of a writer, though, and he should think twice about creating dialogue for his future projects.

    Jun 18, 2002 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • Missing is a sense of the interior life behind the smiling face that Selena showed the world. What of the drive that led her to music? What comfort did she find in it? What pain?

    May 11, 2001
  • Selena succeeds, through Lopez's performance, in evoking the magic of a sweet and talented young woman.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Selena


Even if you have never listened to her music, you will still appreciate this film.

Eric Alvarez
Eric Alvarez

Super Reviewer

Heartbreaking! A must see!

Bethany Murphy
Bethany Murphy

Super Reviewer

The story of a girl who had the spirit to believe in a dream and the courage to make it come true.

Wahida K
Wahida K

Super Reviewer

One of the better biographical movies in my book. J-Lo was great in this.

Jason Owens
Jason Owens

Super Reviewer

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