Selena

"Very Good"

Selena Review


The short life of Tejano superstar Selena Quintanilla-Perez ended in 1995 when the 23-year-old was gunned down by her own assistant. Young, beautiful, newly married, and beloved by millions of music fans, Selena was at the height of her popularity and was making inroads into the mainstream American pop market when it all came to that tragic end. What a biography. And what a screenplay.

Two years after Selena's death, writer/director Gregory Nava brought Selena to the screen with Jennifer Lopez bravely taking on the challenge of appearing in almost every scene, doing all that dancing, and lip-synching all those songs. It was a triumph for the actress that 10 years later she has yet to surpass.

Told in typical episodic biopic style, with every major life event compressed into a three-minute bite, Selena's story begins when, as a little girl (Becky Lee Meza), she watches her father's (Edward James Olmos) doo-wop group struggle on the road across Texas. With his long-suffering wife (Constance Marie) and his other kids along for the ride, things start to look up when young Selena joins the band, wowing crowds with her precocious Tejano talent. What a cutie!

By the time she's a teen, Selena has turned into a voluptuous yet sweet bombshell and is on her way to becoming a breakout star but struggles with the fact that she's American and doesn't speak Spanish, not the best background for someone catering to Mexican-American and Spanish-speaking demographic. As she puts it, she has to be American enough to appeal to Americans and Spanish enough to appeal to everyone else. She learns Spanish to charm Mexican journalists, and before long she's a gorgeous 20-year-old in front of a tight band cranking out Spanish-language hits and touring to huge crowds. Confident enough to calm rowdy audiences of thousands on the state fair circuit, she's a real pro, albeit one with a truly tacky sense of fashion.

Selena eventually falls for the guitar player in her band, Chris Perez (Jon Seda), and marries him against her father's wishes. It's very romantic. But the love won't last. Just as Selena is finally charting in English on the American charts, her assistant and fan club president Yolanda Saldivar (Lupe Ontiveros) shoots her in the wake of accusations of financial wrongdoing.

With lots of drama, a great soundtrack, and solid performances all around, especially from Lopez, Selena races by enjoyably and builds to a conclusion that's shocking even though you know it's coming. Tacking on a maudlin slideshow of the real Selena does a bit of a disservice to Lopez. Though this practice was long fashionable with musical biographies, there's no need for an exercise in comparing and contrasting, especially when you're wiping tears from your eyes.

The 10th anniversary DVD includes new featurettes, deleted scenes, and an extended cut of the film.

Fly girl no more!



Selena

Facts and Figures

Run time: 127 mins

In Theaters: Friday 21st March 1997

Box Office Worldwide: $60M

Budget: $20M

Distributed by: Warner Home Video

Production compaines: Warner Bros. Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 64%
Fresh: 25 Rotten: 14

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, as Abraham Quintanilla, as Chris Perez, George Perez as Seff - Dinos 1961, Rebecca Lee Meza as Young Selena, Victoria Elena Flores as Young Suzette, Rafael Tamayo as Young Abie

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Advertisement
Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Sing Movie Review

Sing Movie Review

The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar...

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.