Thomas Hardy’s tale of love between Bathsheba Everdene and Gabriel Oak is beautifully and believably depicted in this latest adaptation directed by Thomas Vinterberg. Lovers of the 1874 novel will not be disappointed in the screenplay written by David Nicholls nor will they be in the depiction of Hardy’s beloved Wessex. Newcomers to Hardy’s novel will be given an accurate introduction to the literary masterpiece, as well, and be drawn to read the book, hopefully. The lush scenery of South West England and a haunting musical score (composed by Craig Armstrong) provide a rich backdrop, but the characters are what take center stage in the film. Christian audiences will be pleased to see the biblical virtues of selflessness and humility showcased and that the filmmakers kept much of the biblical imagery in Hardy’s original story.
Bella is a decidedly quiet, pro-life film that audiences from all sides of the debate can learn from and appreciate. Its appeal will not be left unfelt by viewers that support abortion rights for it doesn’t accost them with dogma or insult them with unrealistic characters. Rather, its compassionate, non-preachy, and gentle approach to communicating its pro-life message allows it to be silently slipped into their shoe unseen like the proverbial pebble. Christian, anti-abortion viewers will like how elements of their faith are delicately woven into the fabric of this movie and they can learn from its graceful approach to unwed pregnancy and abortion. In an age of seemingly ceaseless clashes between the two sides of the abortion debate, Bella takes on the difficult challenge of infusing the battle zone with the beautiful message of redemption. Does it deliver?