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Bella

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Bella
Directed by Alejandro Gomez Monteverde
Roadside Attractions, opens October 26

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Bella, the People's Choice Award winner at last year's Toronto International Film Festival, is already getting some buzz among Catholics and pro-lifers in the blogosphere, who've pinned it as the crossover anti-abortion hit they've been waiting for. Sorry to break it to you guys, but . . . no. Director Alejandro Gomez Monteverde has so little control of tone or nuance that even the most tragic and serious moments here come off as melodramatic jokes. (During the screening I attended, nearly the entire theater burst out laughing at the violent death of a child.) His main character, Jose (Eduardo Verástegui), a Jesus-haired hottie with sad eyes and a sad secret weighing on his mind, works as a (preternaturally talented yet modest) chef in his brother's New York restaurant. When a co-worker, the streetwise Nina (Tammy Blanchard), is fired for her chronic lateness (guess what: she's actually pregnant), Jose takes her out for a day at the beach and tries to dissuade her from getting an abortion. Does she? If you can't tell by now how this movie ends, I won't spoil it, except to say that it manages to be utterly predictable without making any sense at all.

 
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