UPDATE: Bella is now available on DVD in the U.S. and Canada.
Take a young, unmarried pregnant woman and a very handsome former professional soccer player in New York city, put that on the big screen and most would expect a very different film than the blessing that is Bella.
Synopsis: Nina, a young waitress at a busy Mexican restaurant shows up late to work one day as she has just discovered she is expecting a baby. She is immediately fired when she enters the restaurant and Jose, the chef and brother of the owner, follows her as she storms out. She shares with him her situation and they embark upon a day of discovery, new beginnings and redemption. Nina intends to have an abortion and Jose who is from a Mexican Catholic background steeped in love of life and family introduces her to a whole new world. Jose struggles with a painful secret himself and in the end finds a solution so that life prevails.
This film was a labor of love created by an under-financed, independent production company comprised of Catholic men who were tired of the proliferation of movies which treated all life as disposable. Lead actor Eduardo Verástegui was at one time a leading man in steamy Mexican soap operas and admits to having led a sinful life, leaving behind his Catholic upbringing. He has chosen to die to sin and in one television interview said, "the next woman I will kiss will be my wife." Prior to the film's opening in the US last October, he told National Catholic Register :
Bella is the fruit of 3 1/2 years of sacrifice, of saying No to a lot of offers that were not honoring God. To really follow the path of Our Lord, you have to be willing to die to yourself. Period. Because sometimes my own dreams become my worst enemy if those dreams are not in line with God’s will. If it means that I never work again in this career, thanks be to God. If God wants to use me to use my talents in this career so I can glorify him, thanks be to God.Raymond Arroyo interviewed Mr. Verástegui on World Over Live and he shared many moving insights and personal reflections upon both the film and the Faith. One such story was about how he prepared for the film. He went to an abortion clinic and attempted to interview a young couple who were nervously approaching the building, apparently seeking an abortion. He gave them his name and phone number pleading with them to at least go home and think about their conversation. The couple agreed and he received a call of good news and a baby named after him several months later.
I anxiously awaited the release of the film and my husband and I were sure to be at the first possible screening in our area. Our only regret was that we did not bring our 9-year old son along with us. There was no violence, sex, romance, kissing or inappropriate touching in this film and the protagonists shared a deep and honorable friendship. When the credits were over, I asked my husband what he thought of the movie. He said, 'It was a tearjerker and I'd like to see it again.' I asked him what parts he found to be moving and he replied, 'the whole thing.' The message is a heavenly one, yet there was no preaching in this film. I believe this is what I liked most.
The DVD release is approaching (May 6) and I would like to ask everyone who reads this blog to purchase the video. Watch it with friends who may not be close to God or consider themselves to be 'pro-choice'. ;-) They will never know what you're up to.
Life: God created it and it was good.
*The film grossed a very respectable $7,762,924 at the box office and was honored with the coveted Toronto Film Festival's People's Choice Award among many other awards.