On Saturday afternoon, we saw the new movie "Bella." For many months, this first release from Metanoia Films had been heavily promoted within the Catholic community. At conferences, at meetings of various organizations and through the many Catholic media outlets and e-mail networks, the film's marketing team did an excellent job getting the word out.
So, my expectations were very high. And I am genuinely disappointed that these expectations were not really met.
"Bella" had potential. It had an underlying good story, many nice moments, sympathetic characters and some decent performances. But, it lacked focus. There were too many flash backs and flash forwards. There was too much use of the hand-held camera in places. Perhaps too many characters. And, too many drawn-out heart-tugging plot lines.
For background, see these conflicting reviews at Busted Halo, the San Francisco Chronicle (positive review) and The New York Times (negative review).
I would still recommend seeing "Bella." It does have important messages about family, friendship and the value of human life. Just have low expectations for the film-making.