Bella (Beauty) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Bella (Beauty) Reviews

Page 1 of 132
February 7, 2016
Lovely, sweet, warm, touching film that just curls around your heart. That critics didn't like this, but loved Melancholia says everything about how far from the tastes of real people today's film critics are.
November 24, 2015
amazing film! really extraordinary
August 22, 2015
fantastic movie in an era where movies only get rating if there are cartoon characters, plots and solutions being solved with explosions, this movie definitely cuts against the grain with redeeming qualities that sets it apart.
June 7, 2015
I should have figured that critics wouldn't want to roll with one of the few indie films that doesn't reek of pretentiousness. The fact of the matter is, Bella is a beautifully shot and scored film with an intimate nature and complex intersection of moral and philosophical dilemmas. Its cast of virtual unknowns deliver an A+ performance that carries one of the earliest entries in the gritty and realistic category that has overtaken independent films recently. Although many critics jumped on the liberal bandwagon against the film's message while other critics jumped over-zealously to its defense, Bella rides a heartwarming medium, managing to thoughtfully comment on both sides of the issue of unplanned pregnancy without being intrusive. Although critics have also complained that the story is concocted, the nuances that the story is in service to are really what is so important about Bella. Overall, the film is a desperately human tale, fraught with the real life challenges felt by the audience everyday.
May 29, 2015
Whenever you have a movie that critics dislike and the audience likes, I find it is almost always because there is an agenda. In the case the "agenda" is that this a pro-life movie .... critics won't buy that.
May 16, 2015
Absolutely loved it!
December 20, 2014
This was even better the second time I saw it. A beautiful, ground level story that feels intimate and genuine. The main characters are rather endearing, with solid performances from Tammy Blanchard and Eduardo Verástegui. Very touching- and hopeful. I love this film.
December 5, 2014
a beautiful film about family, choices, and heartache. artfully done. simple and beautiful.
September 22, 2014
Quite touching for several scenes.
July 4, 2014
Hope to see it comes out over here.
½ May 17, 2014
Bella is every budding filmmaker's dream. Picture this: You're a young film student. You work hard for years in college, and finally make your first short film. That short receives a very strong positive reaction, prompting companies to sponsor you. You gear up to write, produce, and direct your first feature-length film, a gargantuan task for any young filmmaker. You manage to achieve your vision with sufficient financial support from producers. You enter your first movie in film festivals. Then your wildest dreams come true. Your little movie wins the "People's Choice Award" at the largest film festival in the world (the Toronto International Film Festival). From there, you travel for a year, showing your movie to anyone who will watch it. Throughout this time, you seek distribution deals. Finally, over a year after it premiered at the festivals, you release your movie in theaters. Because it is a small release, if it doesn't do well in on Friday, you'll be out of theaters by Monday. But no, your tiny film surprises everyone and somehow manages to make over a million dollars a week for its first four weeks in theaters. It takes a full thirty-six weeks (and a profit of roughly twelve times your budget) for your passion project to finally leave theaters. And at the end of the year, your film is ranked as the top-rated movie on the New York Times Readers' Poll, Yahoo, and Fandango.

Sounds far too good to be true right? Well that is exactly the story of Alejandro Gomez Monteverde's film, Bella. The inspiring true story of how this film came to be is (kind of) more inspiring than the movie itself. Don't get me wrong, Bella is an excellent film, all things being considered. And to accomplish all of these things with very little experience and a one million dollar budget make the whole endeavor all the more impressive. It's not without flaws, I'll grant you that. But for a movie that should have been a little wisp of nothing, Bella is pretty darn impressive.

The story follows the interconnected tragedies of two characters. Nina gets fired the day she finds out that she is pregnant. Jose has been living with grief and a lost dream for years. Their lives link, and they spend a day walking through New York City, talking about the past, present, and future.

The story isn't the most ambitious thing I've ever seen, but I completely understand its structure. The filmmakers had to take into account the limits of filming on a small budget. So there are no explosions or mind-blowing locations. It's just a simple story about people. The movie reminded me of another 2007 film, Juno. In that both movies are pro-adoption, and in a roundabout way, pro-life. Though it does give off a definite vibe, Bella isn't a Christian movie. But through watching the film (and watching interviews), it's obvious that Monterverde was very intent on making a film with strong moral values. These values don't necessarily spring from religion, but they are still wholesome, through and through. You can tell that the director made a point of making the movie exactly the way he wanted to.

Another thing that Bella is often commended for is its portrayal of the Latino community. In film, Spanish characters always seem to fall into two categories: the thugs and the Don Juans. But this movie successfully breaks that mold by showing Jose and his family as normal, intelligent, hard working people. It's not the biggest deal in the world, but it is a nice change of a stereotype.

The cast is exceptional. The best (and legitimately great) performance belongs to Tammy Blanchard as Nina. This character requires a lot of emotion, and actors in low-budget films don't have the best track record when it comes to properly handling dramatic scenes. But Blanchard is seriously good as the single mother-to-be.
Eduardo Verástegui gives a usable performances as the other main character. Jose isn't given half as much effective dialogue as Nina, his job is more to be the shoulder to cry on. He walks through the movie sporting a vaguely Jesus-esque beard, giving a vaguely Jesus-esque performance. His source of tragedy doesn't feel as organic as Nina's. Still, Verástegui gives nothing less than a good performance.

The supporting cast offers a few surprisingly strong performances. Manny Perez is excellent as the almost comedic relief older brother. All of Jaimie Tirelli's lines are in Spanish, but he still emotes a performances that bolsters the film. And Ali Landry has a small but important part, and she handles it quite well.

I think the main thing that I didn't like about the movie was the ambiguous ending. The movie could have really afforded to tack on an extra five or ten minutes to really wrap up the story. As it is, the end brings more confusion than closure. This flaw, along with some hammy dialogue and slightly-too-convenient character emotional connections prevent the movie from being truly spectacular.

Bella winds up having just the right amount ambition, just the right amount filmmaking flair, just the right amount of drama and comedy, just the right amount of introspection, and a little bit extra in the way of performances. The movie doesn't blow the roof off. But as a first movie for a young filmmaker with a small budget and no real name recognition - Bella is much better than it has any right to be.

"If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans." 7/10
March 12, 2014
It's not cheesy, has good acting, and isn't preachy about its message.
February 5, 2014
Outstanding movie with a powerful message on the dignity of life, the power of love and redemption. Plot was simple but deep. It definately had stong parallels with the Parabel of the Prodigal Son from the Gospel of Luke.
February 4, 2014
International soccer star who has his professional life turned upside down offers support to a friend with her own set of personal challenges. Film focuses on friendship and overcoming adversity that life throws in front of us. Exceptional cast highlights the dynamics of a family-owned business while showcasing man's compassion towards others. A People's Choice Award winner at Toronto, this movie is a dialogue intensive story that will pull at your heart--but not to the point of being contrived. Through well-timed flashbacks and authentic NYC filming you'll see the hardships life delivers at one's door as well as the ultimate gift. Grade: B
½ December 30, 2013
José (Eduardo Verástegui), ex-jogador de futebol de sucesso, trabalha atualmente como cozinheiro do restaurante mexicano de seu irmão. Nina (Tammy Blanchard) é garçonete do local. Juntos, passam um dia em Nova Iorque após alguns mal-entendidos no restaurante, encontro que irá transforma suas vidas para sempre.
½ September 18, 2013
Bella: Though this film was heralded as the best of the year by critics and movie watchers nationwide, I only found it moderately enjoyable. Sure, the story was moving, and the makers showed admirable restraint for a "PG-13" film, but it still felt slightly lackluster, especially with the ambiguous ending. If you have yet to see Bella, it might be worth borrowing from your local library, but I definitely wouldn't recommend purchasing this unless you got it really cheap.

Content Concerns:

Sex: The whole movie centers around an unmarried woman's unplanned pregnancy, though no one is seen in bed together. 3.5/5
Nudity: Nina's midriff is seen in one scene. 4.5/5
Language: Nina says someone is "such a piece of...", but she is cut off before she can finish that statement. 4.5/5
Drugs: A pregnant woman is seen smoking. A family drinks alcohol at the dinner table, but one person politely refuses because she is pregnant. Nina mentions that she misused drugs as a teen, but only to say how wrong it was. 3.5/5
Violence: A hit-and-run accident kills someone, and the bloody results are briefly seen. A woman bangs her head against a mirror out of stress. 3.75/5
Frightening/Intense Scenes: The hit-and-run incident mentioned above is made even more tragic by the fact that a little girl is the victim, and her mother is shown losing her mind when she sees it. 3/5
Other: In addition to unplanned pregnancy, abortion is mentioned, which is not a kid-friendly theme. Also, some of the dialogue is spoken in Spanish with English subtitles, which would also frustrate young viewers. 3/5

Score: 3.5/5
August 1, 2013
This movie is excellent. I loved the slower pace, I loved the depth of character, I can't praise it enough.
July 27, 2013
Loved the plot, scenes and caters bit it left a lot to figure out
½ May 16, 2013
It was ok..nothing great but I did like the friendship between Bella and the male friend..very touching relationship. It was boring though.
Page 1 of 132