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Bella

do any small animals live in your beard...?

PG-13

Eduardo Verástegui, Tammy Blanchard

Jose: Don’t worry.
Nina: Oh, I don’t worry.  I used to worry…then I did a little research and I found out that 10 out of 10 people…die.

Jose (Verástegui) is a former professional soccer player who quit soccer and lost all passion in his life after he was responsible for a terrible tragedy.  Nina (Blanchard) is a waitress at the same restaurant that Jose is now the chef at.  When Nina is late to work after discovering that she is pregnant, Jose’s brother – who owns the restaurant – fires her.  Seeing that she needs a friend, Jose leaves work as well and spends the day with Nina.

There’s a lot to like about this movie, but there’s also some things holding it back from being a very good film.  It looks great, with a lot of vivid colors and nice locations, and the acting is mostly good.  I especially liked Tammy Blanchard as Nina.  I might have developed a little bit of a crush on her, in fact.  As for Jose, though, I thought the character was a bit too dull, buried under a wandering-in-the-desert-for-forty-days beard and a permanent depressed look on his face.  Once we see the tragedy in his past, it’s understandable I suppose, but it still doesn’t make him any more enjoyable to watch.

What is nice to watch is a story unfold that isn’t so much a story about two people falling in love, but about somebody who is trying to show another person the love they need at that moment in their life.  Nina is dealing with the fact that she has absolutely no confidence that she could raise a baby as it should be, and she doesn’t want her child to grow up to be as miserable as her.  Meanwhile, Jose is constantly living with the desire to somehow make up for the life that he accidentally took a few years before.  They both can help each other with the pain they’re dealing with.

It’s a little heavy handed at times in the messages it’s seemingly trying to get across about abortion, parenting, and family, but it’s all packaged so nicely that it’s hard to fault it for any of that.  It reminded me of In America in that regard.  In America is a better movie, but it had a similar look and feel to it which made up for some of its own weaker points.

There are a few times when Bella drags a little or seems to be meandering, but it usually gets back on track pretty quickly.  Plus, it might be a little too feel-good for it’s own good.  But, if you can make it through some of the extraneous scenes back at the restaurant and the overlong moments with Jose’s family, you’ll be rewarded with a fairly sweet, touching, amusing movie, as well as a charming performance by Tammy Blanchard.

Pay attention while driving.

10 – 1.2 for some extraneous scenes here and there that seemed like filler – 1.4 for a dull lead character, Jose – .7 for going overboard with the feel-good moments + .2 for looking so nice + .3 for Nina = 7.2