Bless Me, Ultima

Set in New Mexico during and after World War II, young Antonio (Luke Ganalon) establishes a strong bond with his grandmother, Ultima (Miriam Colon), a powerful medicine woman who’s insight on life makes a notable impression on those around her. In their village a silent battle between good and evil appears to be taking place on multiple levels, spiritual, emotional, and physical. Meanwhile, Antonio, witness to this battle, is taught what it means to know god, through the eyes of Catholicism and through the spiritual eyes of Ultima.Bless-Me-Ultima-2013-movie-poster Based on Rudolfo Anaya’s novel, the screenplay works as a pre-coming of age spiritual quest, some of which is quite touching and some of which seems steeped in schmaltz leaving a “made for TV” taste in the mouth. Furthermore, voiceover narrations throughout could have been easily avoided; instead, the principle of “show me don’t tell me” is tossed out and the strength of the dramatic performances is diminished. To this end, perhaps involving a more seasoned screenwriter would have helped. Still, as an examination of American history in the Southwest the film does achieve a clear snapshot of our past. Maybe a matinee, more of a rental. Bless Me, Ultima is rated PG-13.