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Movie Review

Selena

Reviewed by: David Sayers
CONTRIBUTOR

Better than Average
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
10 to Adult
Genre:
Docudrama
Length:
131 min.
PG

Although it could be argued that “Selena” is a film that is primarily directed to her huge base of young Hispanic fans, this story of the singer’s meteoric rise to fame and her tragic death in 1995 at the age of 24 is a touching tribute to her life and family that anyone can appreciate. The film is a celebration of Selena’s short, but impactful, life and does not dwell on her murder by her fan club president, which is sensitively dealt with through a series of brief cutaways at the conclusion of the movie.

Jennifer Lopez delivers an outstanding performance as the Grammy-winning Tejano singer, whose rise in the music world is chronicled, from her early life performing in her parents' Mexican restaurant and at South Texas carnivals to her final performance before thousands at the Houston Astrodome and her impending release of an English language crossover album. Edward James Olmos also shines as Selena’s strict and sometimes over-protective, but always loving, father. Family conflicts are realistically presented in the film, but love is the thread that is woven throughout: Selena’s love for life, her family and her fans, and their love for her. I had not followed Selena’s music career before I saw this film, but this film fueled in me a desire to know more about her, and I have come to know the real Selena as a humble and giving person, just as she was portrayed in the film. Although Selena’s relationship with the Lord was not dealt with in the film, I have discovered, not surprisingly, that the real Selena was deeply religious.

“Selena” is a refreshingly clean and family-friendly film. There is only one brief instance where a minor offensive word is used, and there is no graphic violence or provocative sexual content. Not just for Selena’s fans, Selena is an inspiring and entertaining movie about a lovable, but not perfect, family, humility in the face of success, and the unique Mexican-American experience, and it showcases many of Selena’s musical numbers as well.

Year of Release—1997

Viewer Comments
…I agree that it was a good movie but I disagree with the age group it was allotted for. We allowed our eldest daughter to watch the movie because she is very interested in Mexican women (my husband is from Mexico and his family still resides there, we have never been able to visit, and she is very curious about the culture etc.) Well, we allowed her to watch the movie before we had and watching the closing scenes where Selena was murdered and seeing her family’s reaction was very emotionally upsetting for my daughter to the point where she would just sit down and cry for Selena! We even took her to see a counselor! Still, almost 18 months later we cannot allow her to listen to Selena’s music or watch this movie. So yes I agree it was a good movie for ages 13 and up but I personally feel it is too emotional for younger children.
—Anonymous