Movie Review: Miss Bala (2019)
This film is directed by Catherine Hardwicke and it stars Gina Rodriguez, Ismael Cruz Cordova, Aislinn Derbez, Anthony Mackie and Christina Rodlo.
It’s about Gloria (Gina Rodriguez), who is a makeup artist, and her experience in Mexico. She goes visits her childhood friend Suzu (Christina Rodlo) in Tijuana and agrees to do her makeup so Suzu can compete in the Miss Baja California beauty pageant. Soon both women are in the wrong place at the wrong time and the film follows Gloria’s journey into surviving a kidnapping while at the same time trying to find her friend, Suzu (who was also kidnapped).
I had to go and support my people. It’s refreshing to watch a film with a nearly entirely Latino/Hispanic cast (behind cameras and onscreen). Being a Chicana may influenced my opinion on this film. As of now I believe this film may be what Overboard was to me (last year). Majority of the critics didn’t like Overboard (the remake) but I loved it!!! Just like Overboard this film is in both English and Spanish (I fluently read, speak and write both) so it was fun watching a film that is closely relatable to my way of speaking (yeah I speak Spanglish). To top it off my family is from Ensenada, Baja California (2-3 hours south of Tijuana) and I’m from Los Angeles, California, so it’s safe to say that this film takes place in two cities that are very dear to me.
I had a good time with this film. I haven’t seen the original version so my thoughts are based just on this film. It’s full of action and some twists I didn’t see coming. The cast was great but most importantly Gina Rodriguez is an absolute beast in this film (personally I think she may have been a bit too good for this film). Rodriguez makes this film very much watchable. Besides Rodriguez my favorite thing about this film is the soundtrack. The music was pretty good and I found myself dancing to some of the songs. I was able to identify with some of the characters when it came to identity issues. My favorite quote of this film (and perhaps the quote that accurately describes my entire life) is “I’m too American to be Mexican and too Mexican to be American”. I do admit that some of the incidents that occurred in the movie did make my eyes roll to the back of my head. I understand that Gloria is simply trying to survive and she does whatever it takes to do so but at times I found it a bit unbelievable that she can outsmart some members of the cartel. Another thing I’d like to make clear is that in previous film reviews I’ve complained about Latinos/Hispanics portraying stereotypical characters (narcos, cartel leaders etc) but this film takes place in Mexico and unfortunately this film is the reality of many Mexicans. Overall I had a good time in the theater. The criticism I’ve heard from the film is that it doesn’t live up to the previous one (which I haven’t seen so I have no opinion). Overall I’d recommend seeing the movie.
I give this film a 8.0 out of 10