Written by Hombre Divertido
This somewhat lopsided story boasts strong performances, and for all-intensive purposes, tells the story of two talented performers coming of age. For the majority of this 127-minute bio-pic, we are treated to the telling of the life of Selena Quintanilla Perez, the gifted vocalist and Grammy winner who was murdered at the young age of twenty-three. Most may not have realized ten years ago that we were also being treated to the break-out performance of Jenifer Lopez, who does a remarkable job portraying the charismatic Selena.
Surrounded by a strong supporting cast including the reliable Edward James Olmos, and with a script that adopts the audience into the Quintanilla family, Perez shows great range in the role, as Selena matures from teenager to savvy businesswoman and performer.
The film takes us from Selena’s father’s foray into the music industry, to his recognition of Selena’s talent at a very young age, the development of a family group and business, and the trials and tribulations that went with making a go of it as entertainers.
Where the film, which was written and directed by Gregory Nava, falls short is in the events surrounding Selena’s death. The introduction of Yolanda Saldivar, the woman convicted of the murder of Selena, into the film is abrupt as she appears and is introduced as the president of the Selena Fan Club and business manager of Selena’s Boutiques. There are a few scenes that establish her as manipulative and a meeting with the family where accusations of theft are made, but it is all much too vague. Saldivar’s appearance and the scenes referencing the murder seem thrown into a film that previously contained extensive details into the life of Selena. As the movie was produced so quickly after the death of Selena, the facts surrounding her death may still have been in question, but more of an effort could have been made to round out the story.
The new 10th anniversary two-disc presentation contains the original theatrical versions, an extended version, and two documentaries: one on the making of the film, and the other entitled “Selena: Queen of Tejano,” both of which consist primarily of interviews with her family and others involved in the film. They are well made, enjoyable, and informative, but again, neither lend any insight into the events surrounding her death.
Recommendation: This is enjoyable family entertainment that is sure to increase your appreciation for the talent of Jennifer Lopez and the music of Selena. It will most likely send you to the music store to acquire Selena’s music, and to the Internet searching for more information on the events of her death.