I suppose this is more a recommendation than a review. Bella is not a new film; it was released in 2008 and won a few film festival awards. It had been a while since I’d seen it, so I watched it again with a friend last night. I had forgotten just how moving it was. Bella is about three people, each with their own set of problems, and the transformation they undergo in just over a day. It’s a story about redemption and new life.
A note on worthwhile plots…
I make it no secret that I judge the quality of any story based on what characters learned and how they changed from beginning to end. A story full of static characters with no purposes and no roles will not get applause from me nor will it, I would argue, from any audience, broadly speaking.
Bella deserves applause. I won’t spoil the plot, but I’ll try to give you something to chew on as you watch the film for yourself. The two protagonists, Jose and Nina, know little about each other except that they both work for Jose’s older brother, Manny. Manny is a slave-driving boss with a lot to learn about treating others. As the film begins, Nina is late to work because she has discovered she is pregnant, and Manny fires her without waiting to hear an explanation.
Jose, Manny’s head chef, witnesses Nina’s firing, and walks out of the restaurant on a whim to make sure Nina will be okay. In the course of the day, Jose and Nina learn about each other’s backgrounds and they learn from each other. Not only does everyone grow and change for the better, but the story closes with an unexpected and pleasing ending.
Bella demonstrates the human need for atonement, redemption, and someone to give us new life. As a Christian, I found the film’s connections to our redemption in Christ encouraging, to say the least.