Gabriela (2001) from Tuna

Gabriela is on a par with Harlequin novels. That is to say, it is only suitable for providing shower nozzle masturbation fantasy material for emotionally and romantically starved women.

A young social worker (Jaime Gomez) is working at a private mental hospital, and is looking for the one perfect woman to be devoted to, when in walks Gabriela (Seidy Lopez), student intern/therapist in training. The attraction is instantaneous, but there is a minor complication. She is living with her fiancÚ, and her traditional Mexican family is pushing for a wedding. The two can't deny their feelings, and end up in bed. But when her fiancÚ catches them, she decides to go back to him, and go through with the wedding to the wrong man because that is what her family wants.

Here is where we get to the estrogen overload. Gomez follows her to Mexico, crashes the wedding, proposing to her, and finally wins her consent singing her favorite song in Spanish, while all of her relatives applaud. So she gets the perfect guy who is totally devoted to her. 

Production values are good. The stars are attractive, all of the acting, even from the mental patients, was well above average, and the art direction was very good, but it was far too sappy and syrupy for me.

NUDITY REPORT

The only exposure is a nip slip during the first of two sex scenes between Lopez and Gomez.
Scoop notes:

One IMDb reviewer seems to have put that high IMDb score into perspective:

"Vincent Jay Miller apparently has been successful in getting everyone who worked on this movie, along with their family and friends, to give this movie perfect votes of 10 and leaving glowing reviews.

Scanning my local theater listings, I came across this movie. Having never heard anything about Gabriela, I, of course, came here to imdb.com to learn more about it. Much to my surprise I find that the movie has a User Rating of 9.5 with 113 votes. With a 9.5 rating I figure this movie must be the sleeper movie of the year. Heck, The Godfather only has a rating of 8.9. However, the movie I saw is a 9.5 rated movie in Bizarro World only.

I graciously give the movie a 6 out of 10. Graciously because I am giving the movie extra credit for being an independent film. The movie is a very freshman effort. The script and direction is lacking. Some scenes work but most do not. The characters with the exception of the grandmother seem to be under played.

By having his actors act behind the most distracting objects, Miller may have already created his signature look. There is a scene with a huge flower display on a restaurant table in which two actors can barely see each other without making an effort. Another scene is in a room full of large paper strings hanging from balloons on the ceiling. And still another takes place behind a kitchen island filled with such picture perfect vegetables that it could have come out of Better Homes and Gardens.

If you have a love of low budget independent film you may be interested in seeing this movie, however I fear most people will find the movie very boring. I find it very interesting that of the 15 people who wrote glowing reviews 9 of them have written reviews for this movie only, and the other 6 have only written one other review. Assuming these people are not associated with this movie, I fail to understand how Gabriela could practically be the only movie to inspire them to write a review."

Amazon info currently unavailable
  • the DVD quality is very poor, with lots of noise, and some synch problems.

It appears to me that this hypothesis is probably correct. The evidence points to ballot box stuffing.

The Critics Vote

  • see IMDb for a few articles in the big California newspapers

The People Vote ...

IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C-. It was far too sappy and syrupy for me. Imagine my surprise when I found it rated 9.3 of 10 at IMDB. Lowest scores from males over 45, but still 9.1. Then again, romance novels sell too!

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