If you haven't heard of "Bella", I'm not surprised. A small film with a B-list cast, "Bella" earned great reviews and standing ovations at many film festivals this year. However, despite this distinction, "Bella" hasn't gotten much press at all. Showing in scattered cities across the U.S., "Bella" isn't exactly in wide release.
I first heard of the movie at my weekly Catechism study group, where most of the members were of the opinion that we needed to storm the gates on opening day (Friday) at the one theatre in the area showing the film. When devout Catholics love an indie film so much they want to pad the numbers opening weekend so the film will get wider release, you KNOW there's a reason the Liberals and MSM hate it.
As this column put it:
...burbling beneath a noisy culture of sexual excess and self-love, there's a quiet undercurrent in our movies carrying subtle, and even obvious, pro-life themes.Bella is another movie in this vein of sidestepping "real life" by addressing the other third of pregnancies.
Last Christmas, there was "Children of Men," a dark science-fiction look into England, 20 years from now, where human fertility has vanished. One pregnant woman becomes a damsel in grave danger, and then with the birth of her child, a beacon of hope.
Six months later, the small movie "Waitress" followed a lonely waitress with a good-for-nothing husband who decides (against Tinseltown's grain) to keep her baby. Summer brought the big, crude sex comedy "Knocked Up," a tale of a beautiful blonde who improbably mates with an overweight schlub, a man the world would say is "not in her league." But underneath the crudity, another pro-life story emerges: not only does she keep the baby, she tries to build a marriage and family.
Those two movies were close enough together to represent a tiny trend -- and film critics denounced it as an affront to their "pro-choice" beliefs. The women chose life, and that was wrong. To them, it smelled of fear and corner-cutting. They noted the word "abortion" wasn't used in the scripts. (But couldn't pro-lifers make the same complaint?)
It showed "the studios' terror at giving offense," whined the Boston Globe. "Hollywood is No-Choice," was the disgusted headline in The New York Times. "Both movies go out of their way to sidestep real life," since "two-thirds of unwanted pregnancies end in abortion."
I love movies. I love the escapism, the getting away, the cinematography, the characters. But I HATE most of the offerings this year. From anti-war, anti-military movies to stupid sex movies which depict men as pigs (thank you "Heartbreak Kid") the pickings are a little slim. There is a reason most of the movies Chris and I have seen this year are adaptations of novels for KIDS. So when I heard about a little indie film without any of that crap, I HAD to go see it.
I'm normally skeptical of Christian movies for good cause. I hate preachy movies and anything that glosses over real life.
"Bella" is neither of those things.
"Bella" is all heart and all honesty. Nothing is sugarcoated, and no one is villainized. Simply, it's a movie about a waitress who has to make a choice and the man who makes it possible. I won't give away any more plot than that, other than to say all choices are explored at one point or another.
There is no cursing or sex scenes, no canned plotline where the characters fall in love, none of that stuff which mainstream movies can't seem to live without. However, it is rated PG-13 for a reason. The whole movie is adult themes, and there is a bit of realistic violence which is necessary to the plot. This is not a movie for children, though I think EVERY teenager should see it.
That being said, it is an honest, touching, incredibly REAL movie. Kleenex is required.
If you're lucky enough to live in a metro area which is showing "Bella" (and the list is surprisingly long) go see it. The movie is unlike anything else being shown this year.
After all, you'd piss off a Liberal. At the end of the day, that's more than worth the price of admission.