Bella

[3.5 stars] [Amazon Link] [IMDb Link]

Picked up via the online recommendation of Kathryn Jean Lopez at National Review Online, this is a small and decent movie about life-changing moments and decisions.

It opens with soccer player Jose, with his agent, about to sign a pro contract for $2 million. ("2.2 million," his agent reminds him. "We don't round down.") He's ebullient and cocky.

The movie suddenly jumps forward a few years, and Jose is not a soccer star; he's a cook in an upscale NYC Mexican restaurant, withdrawn and impressively bearded. He's working for his all-business brother Manny, who chides him for getting too lavish with the employees' pre-opening meal. Also in trouble is waitress Nina; she's been calling in sick and tardy, and it's the last straw for Manny, who fires her.

But Jose sees Nina as a troubled soul and puts her under his wing; they wind up spending the day together, and the movie follows them around as they wander New York, hop out to Long Island to visit Jose's family, revealing things about themselves as they go.

So: pretty good. Also made me hungry for upscale Mexican food.


Last Modified 2013-07-19 10:12 AM EST