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Bella Vista2014

  • 3.2
American English language instructor Doris imparts lessons of assimilation to her international students in the classroom, but in her off-hours she is adrift, treading a fine line between solitude and loneliness. As her students find friendship and community, Doris discovers her own true identity in the secrets of the vast Western landscape.

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Member Reviews (4)

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top reviewer

Mostly a tedious collage of unconnected day to day life scenes in Missoula, Montana, ostensibly centered around a lonely teacher Doris who seems unable to relate to much of anything whether it be other people or her immediate surroundings. While the viewer may be led to suppose the film will offer some degree of plot denouement, the scenario abruptly drops Doris at the end and the viewer is left simply with a couple of scenes involving one of her Japanese students, Yuri. A bizarre ending that is as disjointed as everything that preceded. Perhaps that disjunctive quality is exactly what Ms. Brunner-Sang intended. The only saving grace in the film are occasional stunning photographs of the Montana landscape, both rural and urban.

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top reviewer

Very slow moving but interesting movie. Thought provoking. Some fine scenery.

Felt it was somewhat incomplete, could have been developed more.

This film about an alienated, Caucasian second-language teacher whose international students have more of a social life than she does may be saying that we are all strangers in a land either taken from us or foreign to us. The main character, Doris, is lonely but not terribly sympathetic, as she seems beyond even trying to teach properly or connect to her students. The film is very slow-moving but absorbing, and the final transition from Doris, who leaves Missoula and the movie, to one of her Japanese students chatting with a local and participating in an aerobic dance class, is a clever way to emphasize the theme. I'm a bit skeptical about the film's political point, as non-native speakers must have a much more difficult time assimilating than solitary white citizens with mysterious problems. Still, the actress who plays Doris is expressive and understated in her misery.

Conveys solitude and isolation brilliantly; the stunning scenery will not save the protagonist from her alienation, a stranger without any hope of connection nor belonging, regardless of where she goes next.

These feelings are accented by the coldness of the landscape, and ultimately by her falling in a desolate car-park, without anybody near, nor caring whether she will ever get up or not.

This is a movie that Haneke could have made. Grossly under-rated.