Based on the celebrated novel by Rudolfo Anaya, Carl Franklin (Out of Time, Devil in a Blue Dress) has taken it and created a film with all the emotions that the author instilled in his novel. The beautiful surroundings and deep family ties makes it the type of film stimulates your eyes and your heart.
Growing up in New Mexico during World War II was a turbulent time. Antonio (Luke Ganalon – appeared in episodes of Grey’s Anatomy and Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23) is the youngest in a family of eight. He has two older sisters and three older brothers, who are off fighting in the war. His entire life changes when his father brings home an older woman named Ultima (Miriam Colon – Scarface, All the Pretty Horses). Ultima is there to spend the last days of her life and she and Antonio develop a close bond from the very beginning.
Ultima is a corandera meaning she is a woman who is an expert in natural healings. Some think of her as a witch, but as soon as one of their own takes sick and doctors cannot help they call on Ultima. This happens when Antonio’s mother’s brother is on death’s door. Ultima goes to Antonio’s grandfather’s farm with the young boy in tow. The old woman cures the young man and at the same time puts a curse on the three sisters who made him sick.
Once one of the sisters dies their father, Tenorio (Castulo Guerra – Terminator 2: Judgment Day, The Usual Suspects), vows vengeance on Ultima. Antonio is caught up in the middle of this battle between good and evil. All this causes the young boy to question his belief in God and wonder about magic.
The strong bonds of family and the religious beliefs of Mexican-American families in New Mexico around this time are in full view in Bless Me, Ultima. Religion, magic and the culture of these people has some light shed on it. All this and the beautiful remoteness of the terrain makes for a nice watch.
-Previews of Blu-ray Disc, The Kings of Summer, Austenland, In a World…, Inside Llewelyn Davis