March 29th 2008

  Buy Issue 2776

Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: The truth about Australia's birth rate

EDITORIAL: NSW electricity to be privatised?

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Opposition needs new policies, not stunts

WATER: Time to build new reservoirs

QUARANTINE: EI inquiry flags major changes to horse quarantine

INTERNATIONAL TRADE: Rudd Government to re-examine FTAs

ENVIRONMENT: Conference rejects climate change alarmism

HIGH SCHOOLS: School: ladder of opportunity or game of snakes and ladders?

HUMAN RIGHTS: Behind Beijing's crackdown in Tibet

UNITED STATES: California court attacks parental rights

DRUGS: Australia's complicity in global drugs menace

UNITED NATIONS: Feminist frolics at the UN

AS THE WORLD TURNS: Muslim attacks forcing Jews out of Paris suburbs / School vouchers flourishing in Sweden / Coal tipped to be world's top energy source

MEDIA: ABC's take on Islamic school controversy

CINEMA: BELLA: A gentle film with a big heart

BOOKS: DARWIN DAY IN AMERICA: How Our Politics and Culture Have Been Dehumanized in the Name of Science, by John G. West


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BELLA: A gentle film with a big heart

by David Perrin

News Weekly, March 29, 2008
The award-winning film Bella has been canned by movie buffs at ABC television, which is a good reason you should go to see it. Reviewed by David Perrin.
José (Eduardo Verastegui)
and Nina (Tammy Blanchard).

Bella is a wonderful and warm movie suitable for all the family. In fact, it should be compulsory viewing for teenagers and young adults as it portrays sound Judeo-Christian values in a range of areas.

The film underlines the importance of the family and how the self-giving love of parents can transform children into mature adults who can deal with adversity and tragedy in the situations life presents.

While the major theme of Bella is pro-life, the two main characters portray the opposed sides in the debate about the plight of unmarried mothers who find themselves pregnant.

It is hard to describe the movie without giving the plot away. A young unmarried waitress Nina (Tammy Blanchard) finds herself pregnant with a baby (it's not really a baby, is it?) and feels she does not want to have children without the love of a man in her life.


She is in a particularly painful quandary as she is not only pregnant but also unemployed in, of all places, New York - yes, New York, with all its impersonal chaos and indifference to a lone single woman without family.

In fact, Nina has only one family member, her mother, who is estranged and in no condition to help or support her.

Nina sees an abortion as her only solution.

However, Nina's hero is the male character, José (Eduardo Verastegui), once set to become a major soccer star, but whose promising career has been cut short by a life-changing tragedy. He comes to New York to work through his issues and to try to get his life back on track.

Nina and José's paths cross at a Mexican restaurant where they both work for the owner Manny (Manny Perez), who is José's brother. Manny is more interested in money than in people.

José and Manny's parents play a great supporting role as the stable married mum and dad with the home by the beach, after having worked hard all their lives to bring up their three sons.

Typical of many US immigrant families, they moved with their children to seek a better life in the US, and in the process brought their Christian values with them. It is these Christian family values that have seen them through all they have experienced in their lives.

José, as the later-in-life bearded head chef at Manny's restaurant, has some close-up resemblances to some images of Jesus around today.

He displays many Christian characteristics, including a compassionate side concerned at the plight of another human in crisis.

It is this aspect of an all-too human crisis in a modern setting that has won the film its following.

One of the great moments of Bella is the role reversal between the brothers José and the worldly Manny, as José shows what is really necessary for a good life and the personal characteristics that are needed for true success. José is always in control.

The movie at times is confusing and drawn out and requires the audience to sift through different situations to see the story-line, but please persist as all becomes clear at the end.

José, the hero, forgets all his own past unhappiness to immerse himself in the problems of Nina in a total self-giving in order to help Nina to come to the "right" decision about her baby.

This may be why some critics do not like the movie. Bella was canned by the movie buffs at ABC television, which is another reason you should go to see it.

However, Bella won the audience award at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival. My money is on the audience.

Because of its Christian and pro-life theme, Bella's appeal is in the values that come to the fore and the happy outcome.

Bella is only due for a limited showing, so those who want to see it need to find the limited number of outlets that are showing the movie and see it quickly.

So who is Bella? You can find that out only when the movie comes to a wonderful happy ending that is sure to bring tears to your eyes.

- film reviewed by David Perrin, national president of the Australian Family Association.

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