The American conservative magazine, World, recently commented that “Hollywood is changing their minds about "choice" and its showing up on the silver screen.” World went on to say that several recent films that have depicted a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy, have shown her choosing against abortion. A new film with a pro-life message, Bella, which has been immensely popular and won numerous awards in the USA, will be released in South African, Ster Kinekor Nouveau, cinemas on the 4th of July.

Bella opens up with the wonderful narration, "If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans." Jose has just been signed to a big soccer contract. Filled with joy, Jose is a good-looking, clean-cut, athletic young man at the top of his game. Cut to a bearded, down-hearted Jose cooking in his brother Manny's restaurant. When Nina, the waitress, comes in late, Manny fires her. Jose goes after her to befriend her, not to romance her. He finds out she is contemplating an abortion. He asks her if she'll consider adoption. He even says that he'll adopt the child. Manny, meanwhile, is furious that Jose, his top chef, has walked out. Jose, however, is trying to help Nina. He takes her to his parents' house on Long Island. Jose's family is a delightful group of Spanish-speaking immigrants. They evidently love each other deeply.

Whilst not an explicitly Christian film (there is no Gospel message), the worldview of the film is generally Christian, and contains a good pro-life message. With over 700 000 babies murdered by abortion in South Africa since 1997, it is no wonder that South Africa is one of the most violent countries in the world (excluding countries at war). The message of this film, that each Life is valuable and precious, including pre-born babies, is much needed in this country.

While the film has some creative symbolism, it is not apparent to the average viewer and is only recognised on a second viewing.

One can see why this film would be appealing and meaningful to the lost generation of the 21 st century who have broken hearts, lives and families. The lead character, Nina and her distant, unresponsive mother and rebellious teenage years are reflective of far too many contemporary Western families. The film does, however have a positive, redemptive message that God can turn our failings for good. Jose’s sense of hope and meaning in life is restored by adopting Nina’s daughter, Bella.

Some scenes are very slow-moving and possibly even unnecessary. More time could have given to filling in “gaps” in the plot. The filmmakers perhaps wanted to avoid being “preachy” and therefore avoided an explicit pro-life message in the dialogue of the characters. The film therefore perhaps lacks a strong “punch”. However, it is still very worthwhile, especially for non-Christians who would not ordinarily attend a pro-life event.

“Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, ‘But we knew nothing about this’, does not He who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not He who guards your life know it? Will not He repay each one according to what he has done?” Proverbs 24:11-12

Taryn Hodgson
Africa Christian Action
P.O. Box 23632
Claremont, 7735
Cape Town
Tel: (021) 689-4481
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Website :

Christian Action P.O.Box 23632 Claremont 7735 Cape Town South Africa - 021-689-4481 -
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