Bella 

The entire movie is a lesson on giving things—and people—a chance. Produced in 2006, Bella slowly gained notoriety as it won trophy after trophy—including the prestigious People's Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival. Then, after earning a limited theatrical release, the film cleaned up at the box office.

When his brother fires waitress Nina (Tammy Blanchard) from the restaurant in which he works, line cook Jose (Eduardo Verastegui) follows her to the subway and the pair spend a 24-hour period talking about their lives and exploring each's longstanding torments.

In the DVD special features, co-writer/co-producer/director Alejandro Gomez Monteverde and co-producer/star Verastegui talk about how important this film was to them, both personally and societally, as it tells a story with great emotion—one that is very careful to free itself of the Latin stereotypes so prevalent in Hollywood. Their labor is viewers' reward. The film is, honestly, a masterpiece, and will no doubt be one of the best home rentals this year.

The script is so subtle and honest it feels as visceral as anything in the real world. In an early scene, model/singer/actor Verastegui's Jose fooled me, as did the film's synopsis, into thinking I was getting something simple, when in fact both Jose and Bella master the complex—especially in the realm of character development and relationships.

There is a definite sob factor with this one, but if you take a cue from Torontoans and give it a chance, you will surely be rewarded.

This video courtesy of Hollywood Video, 590 Broadway Ave., 208-342-6117.

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