Who can forget the incredible experience of seeing Mel Gibson's masterpiece The Passion of Christ burn a trail through the secular, hypocritical and cynical core of Hollywood's wallets, rationalized moral cesspool and arrogant elitist moral pretensions? How priceless was the image of petty fools and pathetic hypocrites seeking to censor the mighty images and messages that Mel's grand work offered? In the end, these imbeciles fell before God's mighty Will, and the resulting film shoved the profound sacrifice and intensity of Our Lord's sacrifice right in the faces of those who would dare ignore, mock or question this ultimate demonstration of love or soil its magnitude with their pathetic claims.
Well, from all accounts - honest critics and box office numbers, God is moving to knock some sense into Hollywood once again, for the recently released movie Bella seems to be one of those rare works that can inspire, inform and move its audience toward God without being too vulnerable to the trivial and biased complaints of those seeking to remove God from our midst.
The anti-Vera Drake
If Vera Drake was a despicable example of Hollywood's usual penchant for promoting and even sanctifying abortion as some twisted and noble deed, then Bella is clearly the anti-Vera Drake, for its story seems to confirm the notion that abortion is never the best response to anything other than flimsy secular and liberal rationalizations for sin.
Seemingly every usual Hollywood offering presents abortion as the expected conclusion of rational, practical, thoughtful and mature adults overcoming the so-called harassment of extremist religious hypocrites and unstable faith types. Conversely, many films present the decision to bypass abortion and give birth to the child as some mindless, clueless, thoughtless and imbecilic error or submission to racially intolerant forces.
The film presents audience with a young pregnant girl leaning toward abortion who is shown a better path by a former soccer player who befriends her. Like Mel's film there were numerous reports of minor miracles and fortunate events during the making of this film.
Shrewdly Under the Radar
Either intentionally or by great fortune, Bella seems to be able to convey its powerfully pro-life message in such a way as to transcend criticism from abortion groups and pro-abortion forces. The film does not directly attack the pro-abortion position. However, it does seemingly present the pro-life choice as a responsible, sensible and extremely courageous choice given the present political environment. While I am sure more imbeciles and fools will continue to come out of the woodwork to criticize Bella as a typical progressive backlash to the plaudits of the film, their claims will generally be revealed to be nothing but liberal ranting.
But the benchmark critic for the masses, Ebert & Roeper gave it a hearty thums up and why not?! It has not only been critically acclaimed, winning numerous artistic awards, (including the Grand Prize Award for Best Dramatic Feature at the 16th annual Heartland Film Festival and prior to that the People's Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival as well as several other nominations) but in its opening week, rated the highest average box office per screen of any film in drama category worldwide to date this year. While the vast majority may not realize it, due in large part to the main networks' deliberate avoidance of publicizing it, Bella took home the highest average box office per screen of any film in the world last Sunday, while placing number two overall for Friday and Saturday box office receipts last weekend. That shows the buzz is not about Jerry Seinfeld's Bee Movie, but the surprise of the year Bella by Alejandro Monteverde, who wrote the screenplay and masterfully directs, and Eduardo Verastegui, who not only produced it with Sean Wolfington, but plays the lead role of Jose,a Mexican soccer star ala Pele who is shelved, ala Beckham. While crying in his Cuervas, he heats up behind a stove at his brother's Mexican restaurant. One day in the Big Apple changes everything for Nina, played by Tammy Blanchard and Jose, whose heart and soul guide him the rest of the way in being the instrument God intended. The story is powerfully pro-life without being preachy and is catching many off guard. Like a runaway locomotive it is building steam by word of mouth, still the best advertising going, and even the critics - liberal ones at that - recognize the power of this movie.
It is already being touted for Oscar nods, and while those kind of plaudits are nice but fleeting, it is being compared with other classics which started off as sleepers as well - Chariots of Fire and Life is Beautiful. The trailers and posters promote it as "True Love Goes Beyond Romance" and it is truly a love story, one that begins in the womb and might just be the pendulum to swing public opinion back to the sanctity of life.
Lesson For New Order Church
Bella should be required viewing at all seminaries and convents in the American Catholic [sic] Church. Its message of courageous pro-life defense and acknowledgement of the sacredness of life is one that most American 'cardinals' and 'bishops' should heed and model in their mission. But we know they won't because of their being wedded to corruption. Unlike the modern Church-posing as Catholic - when in truth it is the antithesis of true Catholicism - and has largely surrendered and abandoned its role as guide for those considering abortion or confused by the many forces driving them toward it, Bella does just the opposite. Bella does not show us moral cowards enslaved by convenience or practicality, as is often found in our present moral environment that has so tainted and polluted the New Order Church Rather, Bella offers us yet another chance to
apply God to a world increasingly pushing that very God right out of the world.
Despite all odds, and on a small budget, Bella is showing every day how it is a success in much the same manner Mel did. Taking a cue from Gibson, the producers of Bella are utilizing many of the same tricks of the trade in reaching the masses through churches and groups where the message has been heard loud and clear except in the chanceries and curia where evidently the ivory towers are sound proof. Funny, satan seems to get through those walls!
It is my hope and prayer that many who may have bought the lie that abortion is good, that a woman has a choice, will realize the infanticide in such a statement and repent of their ways. God's already performed a miracle by letting Bella gain this much steam. No wonder Planned Parenthood is reeling and roiling.
Bella has the potential to be Heaven's next impact on a cold, cynical and manipulative Hollywood ever ready to push its secular, anti-faith and especially anti-Catholic agenda. With the atheistic The Golden Compass on the near horizon, it is time for Catholics to stand up and be counted. Hint: don't count on your hierarchs to lead you for they've already indicated they are cowards and criminals. In a way it is so sad how so
so inverted and absurd is the modern American Catholic [sic] Church, especially regarding its moral cowardice and political convenience on abortion, that we are left to watch for films that may teach most American 'Catholics' things that they should already know and apply everyday. As I said, forget those shepherds in wolves' clothing. They've been getting away with murder for the past thirty plus years or more. They're not the answer, but the problem. A big problem.
And so we turn to the celluloid for our catechetical lessons.
Bella seems to be intent on teaching its audiences that we will always have the world's solutions and Heaven's solutions to our most significant problems and issues. To a diluted and cowardly American Catholic [sic] Church increasingly willing to dilute itself into oblivion, this film demands a fortified moral character and courage. To a confused and rationalized American 'Catholic' population, Bella presents a clear challenge that one can follow God with practical, effective and shrewd thinking.
Finally, Bella means "beautiful" in Italian, and we may be seeing yet another beautiful demonstration that God is willing to fight evil on its own terms and on in its own turf, and how much more beautiful can our faith be than that? Fight on, Christian soldiers, and go see Bella. It's a great basic training film on conveying the message of the sanctity of life.