Watch Bless Me, Ultima
- 1 hr 46 min
Bless Me, Ultima, directed by Carl Franklin and released in 2012, is a coming-of-age film based on the novel of the same name by Rudolfo Anaya. Set in 1940s New Mexico, the story follows the experiences of young Antonio Marez (played by Luke Ganalon) as he navigates the complexities of growing up in a world of conflicting cultural and spiritual traditions.
At the center of Antonio's story is the character of Ultima (Miriam Colon), an elderly curandera (a healer who uses traditional remedies and spiritual practices) who comes to live with Antonio's family. Ultima becomes a mentor and guide to Antonio, helping him navigate the challenges of his upbringing as he wrestles with questions of identity, faith, and morality.
One of the most striking features of the film is its vivid portrayal of the landscape and culture of the American Southwest. From the vast deserts and mesas to the rich tapestry of Hispanic and Native American traditions, the film creates a rich and immersive world that evokes a sense of both beauty and danger.
The film is also notable for its nuanced exploration of the tensions and conflicts that arise from living in a multicultural, multifaith society. Throughout the film, Antonio is pulled in different directions by the various cultural and religious influences in his life, including his Catholic upbringing, the indigenous beliefs of his mother's family, and the more secular values of his father's family.
As he struggles to make sense of these conflicting influences, Antonio also grapples with questions of good and evil, justice and mercy, and the nature of the divine. These themes are brought to life through a series of vivid, often surreal scenes that blend the mystical and the mundane in unexpected ways.
The performances in the film are uniformly strong, with Luke Ganalon turning in a particularly impressive performance as Antonio. His portrayal of the character's soul-searching and transformative journey is both subtle and powerful, and he manages to convey a deep sense of empathy and vulnerability throughout.
Miriam Colon is also a standout as Ultima, bringing a quiet authority and wisdom to the character that makes her a compelling mentor figure for Antonio. Her performance is both understated and commanding, and she manages to convey a sense of the character's deep knowledge and compassion without ever seeming preachy or didactic.
The supporting cast is equally impressive, with Joseph A. Garcia turning in a moving performance as Gabriel, Antonio's father, and Benito Martinez delivering a standout turn as the menacing Tenorio.
Overall, Bless Me, Ultima is a powerful and affecting film that manages to explore complex themes and ideas with real depth and nuance. It is a film that is both intimate and epic in scope, and its portrayal of a young boy's journey of self-discovery is both moving and illuminating. With its stunning visuals, strong performances, and richly woven tapestry of culture and spirituality, this film is a must-see for anyone interested in exploring the complexities of the American Southwest and the human experience.
Bless Me, Ultima is a 2013 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 46 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.4 and a MetaScore of 65.