Student Voice of Denver South High School

Miss. Bala Review

February 27, 2019

Miss Bala, the American remake of a critically acclaimed Mexican film, did not meet the expectations of many viewers in theaters. This movie, starring Gina Rodriguez and Ismael Cruz Cordova earned a mere 25% on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s Mexican counterpart, earned an 85% as well as many awards. Although I knew these ratings before going into the movie, I was determined that it would be better than I was expecting as I usually thoroughly enjoy every movie I see on a big screen. A second reason I was convinced I would rate this movie much higher than 25%, was Gina Rodriguez; hands down one of my favorite celebrities with acting skills off the charts. All four seasons of her hit TV show, “Jane the Virgin”, earned a 100% and have won many awards for acting and script. I went into the movie with a notepad and a pen expecting to be on the edge of my seat.

The movie started with Gloria (Gina Rodriguez) driving across the California- Mexico border to see her friend. She is a makeup artist for models in LA. When she arrives we see the strong connection she has with her friend and learn a bit about her past. She was born in Tijuana, Mexico but moved to the US at a young age. The girls prepare to enter Suzu, Gloria’s friend, in the “Miss Baja California” beauty pageant. While registering, girls comment on Gloria’s weight and do not expect her to enter the pageant. Later the two head to a bar to meet the man in charge of the pageant. This is when members of a cartel, “Los Estrellas” enter and start firing shots into the crowd. Suzu and Gloria are split up and are both taken by the cartel. The rest of the story is about Gloria’s struggle to find her friend. She works both sides of the battling cartels in Mexico and uses her wit to escape numerous dangerous situations.

Personally, I would have rated the movie a 50% due it’s somewhat anticlimactic plot. There were scenes where I sat backed and covered my mouth and a few tears were shed, but overall the movie was slow and did not flow very well. A second thing that I was disappointed about was the lack of character Gloria showed. Her script lacked depth and did not show viewers what she was thinking or how she was feeling. There was a good deal of female empowerment but this mainly took place in the last ten minutes of the movie. Lastly, I feel that Miss Bala lacked accuracy in terms of the portrayal of the Mexican culture. I would like to have seen it go more in-depth into this and focus on this aspect of the movie more. However, the action and adventure aspect was there and Gina Rodriguez did a great job in this role. There was a romance aspect to this film that I also enjoyed.

I did enjoy the movie but would not recommend paying full price in a theater, I would gladly rent from Redbox or watch on Netflix. I also went with a friend and decided to see how she felt about the movie; “I had mixed emotions about the movie. There were parts that were very empowering and powerful but there were also scenes that were dull and did not add to the experience of the movie. I would rate this movie a 55% and would probably not choose to pay full price for it in theaters again. However, I do not regret seeing it and mostly enjoyed it.” Overall I think that this movie tried to meet the standards of a foreign film and like many American remakes, this just did not happen.