Bless Me, Ultima ~ Movie Review
BLESS ME, ULTIMA is based on Chicano writer, Rudolfo Anya’s classic novel. The movie will be released in select cities across the nation FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 22nd.
In my previous post, I mentioned two particular hopes I had for the movie:
The universal coming-of-age story will resonate with everyone.
The Latino culture ties will remind us of who we are and where we come from.
Did I receive what I was expecting?
Yes. Yes, I did. Through this story a young boy must interpret what is good and what is evil through witnessing death, fighting, the spiritual world and simply listening to his friends.
In his home, his is undeniably bonded with the curandera, Ultima or La Grande as the family endearingly refers to her. This allows him to see how her ‘magic’ can heal people in ways that traditional medicine couldn’t. Yet, outside his home, she is shunned and becomes the target of a witch hunt.
At a young age, Tony must make is own decisions on his beliefs about his family’s religion and what it is to carry his family name. His youthful spirit keeps him curious and asking questions. His loved ones do their best to answer but he discovers, the answers are his to define through experience. Many of us are still defining our answers about faith, family and identity.
On a personal note, in regards to Latino culture: this story will paint a picture of what it must have been like for a Latino farming family during World War II. Much of what I saw on the screen was like me watching stories I once heard from mi abuelo, my Papo, come to life. They worked in the fields, they had modest homes and large families, they really did walk over the river to school. And at school, they ate tacos y frijoles, not sandwiches, which caused the other students to make fun. Mi abuelo could have been Tony.
That is what reminded me, a 3rd and 4th generation Mexican-American, of who I am and where I come from.
Growing up, my mom nor my dad didn’t take us to a curandera. Although, I know some in my family did visit them. My friend Laura tells her story of the memories visiting their curandera that were triggered from watching BLESS ME, ULTIMA on her blog.
What I liked: Finally, a substantial story line and a genuine Latino cast. It is something that Latinos for years to come will watch and be able to see their culture and
history American history reflected on the big screen.
It was also just as funny as it was dramatic. I can appreciate that!
What I didn’t like: I wanted more. I want to know what happens to Tony, his parents, his sisters and his brothers.
What’s left for me? … Go read the book.
For you? … Go watch BLESS ME, ULTIMA. Opening weekend is the most important time for the success of a movie, find the closest theater to you. Go see it, if not for any other reason than to support the Latino community in the entertainment industry. Maybe you will discover a bit of history you might not have learned in school.
The film BLESS ME, ULTIMA was written and directed by Carl Franklin (“Devil in a Blue Dress”), the executive producer is Christy Walton, producers are Mark Johnson, Sarah DiLeo and Jesse B’Franklin. The film is based on the novel by Rudolfo Anaya and stars Miriam Colon, Luke Ganalon, Dolores Heredia, Benito Martinez, Castulo Guerra and Joaquin Cosio.
Photo courtesy of Arenas Entertainment.