Nina (Tammy Blanchard; The Good Shepherd) a waitress, arrives late for work two days in a row and Manny fires her. She is so distraught, because she has just learned she is pregnant, that Jose hangs up his apron and goes after her to talk. They end up taking the train to visit his parents on Long Island. Nina obviously wants to terminate the pregnancy. Jose listens to her and shows her what a loving family is like when they sit down with his parents, another brother and his fiance for dinne. Along the beach Jose talks to her about Manny, who is his true brother and is adopted. Jose knows what he is living with for accidentally killing a child; though he barely speaks of this to Nina the audience understands and makes the subtle connections.
The filmmakers want us to know that this is not a movie for the “choir”; it’s for the general public and is deliberately not preachy. It seeks to tells a story about life and the choices we make; it seeks to touch our hearts. Nina’s seeming lack of options is clear. She is all alone in the world, without resources, educati on, or skills; a situation all too common. The father is nowhere to be found. Know that Bella is not a catechism class; it is not a sermon. It is a story that seeks to touch the hearts of those who don’t or might not believe in life the way that we do.
It’s a low budget and knows it; the film never goes or gets beyond itself. Tammy Blanchard as the waitress is particularly good. Eduardo Verástegui as Jose is a former telenovela and rock star from Mexico, in other words, he’s gorgeous, oh, and yes, a good actor, too.
The name choices are interesting: Niña is Spanish for “girl” and Bella is Italian for “beautiful”.
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