Making the Grades
I vaguely remember hearing about the death of Selena Quintanilla. At the time I probably couldn't identify her music from all of the other mainstream adult contemporary hits that were playing on the radio. But after watching Selena, for myself and I'm sure many other people, her music will never sound the same again.
Selena, the movie, is a warm and positive story that is much more a testament of the importance of families than a biography that ends in tragedy. With her real father Abraham acting as executive producer, I would have expected a film that was far more bitter, with the murder being the focus of the script. Instead, the movie takes us back to Selena's beginning, when she was a cute little girl growing up in a family that was willing to do anything for their children.
The day Abraham (played by Edward James Olmos) realizes his daughter Selena (Jennifer Lopez) has a beautiful voice, he runs out and buys used instruments for his three children. His skeptical wife Marcela (Constance Marie) doesn't accept his notion that this is only a family hobby. She remembers when Abraham had this same dream, and worries that he is about to live his lifelong fantasy through his children. She couldn't have been more right. In the months ahead, Abraham quits his job and purchases a restaurant for the sole purpose of having a venue where Selena and her siblings can perform. Less than a year later, the family has lost everything, but Abraham, his wife and children are not the type to give up.
Other than Selena's attempts to mimic Madonna's trend in on-stage fashion (much to her father's dismay), this film is suitable for all ages. The inevitable murder at the end of the film is handled tastefully, so as to not detract from the real message of family love and unity that is felt throughout. I admire Abraham Quintanilla for creating such a positive and forgiving message when it would have been easy and understandable to have produced a much darker film.