Story

Jose (Eduardo Verastegui) has finally realised his dreams and has just been signed to play professional soccer. As fate would have it, on the very day his new life is set to begin a tragic accident involving the death of a child lands him jail.

In remorse, having served his sentence, Jose no longer allows himself the joy and release that soccer once brought. Instead he works as the head chef in his brother Manny’s (Manny Perez) Mexican restaurant. It is here, surrounded by family and friends, that he finds some solace, though it appears that the memories of the little girl who lost her life are never far from his mind.

While working in the restaurant Jose gets to know Nina (Tammy Blanchard) who works as a waitress until Manny fires her for coming in late. While Manny is concerned about the bottom line of his business, Jose concerns himself with the wellbeing of the people he works with and he risks his job in order to help Nina. Ultimately his simple act of kindness saves one life and changes his own forever.

Themes

Death of a child; grief; adoption; abortion; family breakdown

Violence

  • As a form of punishment, Jose burns himself by holding his hand over an open flame.
  • The mother of the little girl who was killed physically attacks Jose.

Content that may disturb children

Under 8

The scene in which a little girl is struck down and killed by the car that Jose is driving is very tense and emotional. The screams of the mother as she is holding the bloodied body of her dead child are haunting and could be extremely disturbing to many young children.

From 8-13

Children in this age group might also be disturbed by the scene described above.

Over 13

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film.

Sexual references

  • Nina’s unwanted pregnancy and the possibility of an abortion are discussed.
  • Jose’s mother asks him why he is taking a special interest in Nina, and what her pregnancy has to do with him.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

  • Nina smokes a cigarette while waiting for Jose.
  • Alcohol is served for a toast at a family dinner.

Nudity and sexual activity

None

Product placement

None

Coarse language 

None

Ideas to discuss with your children

Bella is a thought-provoking drama which, although tragic in some respects, has an ultimate sense of purpose and redemption. The main messages from this movie are that in a single moment your life can change forever, and that even apparently insurmountable obstacles placed in your path are there for a purpose and can be overcome.

You can talk about these messages with your child as well as the following values: taking responsibility for one’s actions and the importance of family and forgiveness. You might also like to discuss the issues of unwanted pregnancy.