Bella (Beauty)


Bella (Beauty)

Critics Consensus

Critics labeled Bella as a simplistic and mostly pedestrian, but positive word of mouth gave this tiny indie surprising theatrical legs.



Total Count: 64


Audience Score

User Ratings: 20,325
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Movie Info

A man whose life is about to be changed forever discovers that sometimes it takes losing it all to finally appreciate the things that truly matter in director Alejandro Monteverde's emotional tale of self-discovery.

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Critic Reviews for Bella (Beauty)

All Critics (64) | Top Critics (28)

Audience Reviews for Bella (Beauty)

  • Aug 13, 2010
    It stands to reason that so many of modern cinema’s true success stories stem from a modest budget (Clerks, Swingers, Once). Feasibility aside (mega-budget spectaculars invariably recoup the studio’s initial investment), these ‘smaller pictures’ usually forsake expensive digital effects and A-list actors to rely on the proven formula of simple storytelling. Bella’s could not be simpler—and delightfully so. While there is nothing overly insightful about this satisfying non-love love story, the magnetic performances cannot help but draw filmgoers in. Though your reviewer would not go so far as to call the drama a character study a la John Cassavetes (Faces, A Woman Under the Influence), the players are the thing…and the thing proves to be pure bliss. In this PG-13-rated indie romantic drama, a chef with a mysterious past (Verastequi) befriends a waitress (Tammy Blanchard) who gets fired from a New York City Mexican restaurant due to an unwanted pregnancy. The story is far from momentous, but intelligent enough not to be predictable—rewardingly, ‘romantic’ does not necessarily mean traditional romance. At the root of Bella lies a plain truth: Sometimes, people just need a friend. While this statement may seem simplistic to the point of tedium, it proves so innately identifiable that audiences will seamlessly fall into the film’s easy-going rhythm. Thanks to Verastequi and Blanchard (and their well-written alter-egos), the slight semblance of a plot works. While the problems of these lil’ people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world (to paraphrase Rick in Casablanca), it does account for empathy. Bottom line: Blissfully keeps it simple, stupid.
    Jeff B Super Reviewer
  • Jun 05, 2010
    Quite a slow film, but engaging and moving. The cast are all fantastic, especially Tammy Blanchard as Nina. It reminded me a little of the Before Sunrise and Before Sunset films. Jose is an ex sports star who has fallen on hard times and is now working in his brother's Mexican restaurant as a chef. When a co worker, Nina, is fired for being late, he goes after her and the pair spend the day together getting to know each other. Ultimately he does something very unselfish to help Nina, and also to ease his own guilt about past events. I actually thought this was a foreign film, but it is set in the US, and though there is a little Spanish in it, the majority is in English, so don't be put off if you're one of those people who don't like to read subtitles.
    Nicki M Super Reviewer
  • Feb 14, 2010
    Another 4-star movie derailed by a nicely pat ending. Every shot is visual poetry, and the relationship between Nina and Jose is tenuous and bittersweet. Eduardo Verastegui with the beard and crazy hair looks almost exactly like Jim Caviezel - it's astounding. I was in love. Tammy Blanchard is gritty and endearingly aloof. She's got a great mouth for this role - a tough pout. Charming supporting characters, nice flashback/fantasy editing, effective mix of languages. The end leaves too many questions though. Where does Nina go for four years? Okay that's only one question, but without the answer and the turning point of Jose's choice, it just seems like a tacked-on happy ending.
    Alice S Super Reviewer
  • Dec 15, 2009
    The huge gap that separates the amount of praise this has received from audiences (Toronto Film Festival Viewers, theatergoers, "Flixter Users") and the negative reviews it received from critics has EVERYTHING to do with the fact that in this movie, a woman is talked out of getting an abortion. Those liberal critics need to look themselves in the mirror and really ask themselves why the hell they're so passionate about women killing their unborn children. Really liberals....really. As both a Latino and a person of faith, I really really love how this film portrays...people. It has such a great message about the importance of family, and redemption, and learning to appreciate life that I really just felt so much better about everthing after watching it. Once you learn the tone of the film, and the personality of the characters, you pretty much know how this movie is going to end. But that didn't really matter to me. Why not make a movie about truly good-hearted people trying to do the right thing under difficult circumstances? Isn't that what life should be about? Anyways...this movie didn't really feel much like a movie, or a compelling film-story. It kind of felt like a nice hug. That's the best way I can describe it. And that's a good thing. It pulls at your heart and gives a wonderful message without overdoing it, unlike some of those "made for Christians" movies out there, like "Fireproof," which preaches and smothers your face with its message. "Bella" is something much more real, much more beautiful, and I think it's guaranteed to make its viewers appreciate life a little bit more than they did before.
    Jared H Super Reviewer

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