I watched the 2006 film Bella yesterday through Netflix. I can’t remember selecting the movie for my queue and I had it in my possession for quite a while before watching. What a gem of a movie Bella is . . .
Set in New York City, Bella chronicles one day in the life of two people, Jose and Nina. Both work for Jose’s brother Manny at his restaurant. On this particular day, Nina is fired for being late numerous times and Jose, the main chef, walks off the job to spend the day with Nina. They were not close friends at the restaurant, just coworkers. Nina tells Jose that she is pregnant and wants to get an abortion as she is not ready to be a mother, doesn’t love the father, and doesn’t want to raise a baby by herself. Hence the reason she has been late, even though Manny was not interested in hearing any excuses from Nina. Throughout their day, Jose and Nina eat lunch at one of Jose’s friend’s restaurant and Nina gets a job offer, they go back to Manny’s to retrieve Jose’s phone and Jose and Manny have a confrontation, they take a bus to Jose’s parents’ house near the beach, they have dinner with his parents and another brother and his girlfriend, and they spend the night on the beach talking and talking. Finally, the next morning they head back to the city and Jose goes back to the restaurant for a new day.
Interspersed throughout the film are flashbacks showing Jose’s story of being signed to a professional soccer team and what happened in his life to get him from professional soccer player to chef at his brother’s restaurant. Nina also tells Jose her story of an unhappy life and loneliness. By the end of the movie, I had a feeling of how things would be resolved, but I wasn’t completely on track.
I enjoyed all of the performances by all of the actors in Bella. I had never seen most of them previously. Eduardo Verástegui was phenomenal as Jose, as was Tammy Blanchard as Nina. The actors who played all of Jose’s family members were exceptional.
Mr. Verástegui has an interesting website managed by one of his friends. I especially enjoyed pictures from Mr. Verástegui’s travels in Europe.
The movie contains a message, bothersome I am sure to some, but not to me. How did I miss this movie for so long? Not to mention the wonderful actors and director, Alejandro Gomez Monteverde? I have no clue. I am only glad that I did see Bella and highly recommend the film. Some time has passed and I notice these actors have not been in too many other movies, but I sure hope they continue to star in more in the future. See Bella for yourself and tell me what you think.