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"SELENA"
(1997) (Jennifer Lopez, Edward James Olmos) (PG)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Minor None Mild Minor Moderate
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None None None Mild
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Minor None Mild Mild Moderate


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: A young Mexican American woman rises through the music world.
PLOT:
In the early 1960's a young Mexican American girl, Selena Quintanilla (BECKY LEE MEZA), surprises her father Abraham (EDWARD JAMES OLMOS) with her pleasant sounding voice. A former musician himself, Abraham pushes her and her siblings into the music world and soon they're playing at local fairs. Years later, he gets her to sing her songs in Spanish and soon Selena (JENNIFER LOPEZ) and her siblings, Suzette (JACKIE GUERRA) and A.B. (JACOB VARGAS), have become a local hit. Heavy metal guitarist Chris Perez (JON SEDA) joins the band and soon a romance blossoms between him and Selena. As she grows into a huge sensation, she must deal with her father who doesn't approve of her relationship with Chris, and with the not-so-faithful president of her fan club, Yolanda Saldivar.
WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of the late singer, or of any of the cast, they will.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG
For some mild language and thematic elements.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • JENNIFER LOPEZ plays a spirited and aspiring singer who's a great role model for young girls.
  • EDWARD JAMES OLMOS plays the father who at times is over bearing in his protection of Selena, but he only has her best interests at heart.
  • JON SEDA plays a "bad boy" guitarist who deep down really cares for Selena and changes his ways for her.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: 6 out of 10
    This is an engaging and often entertaining look at the young Texas singer who popularized Tejano music, but was cut down just as she was becoming a global phenomenon. Though it seems a bit too long (clocking in at over two hours), and has perhaps too much recreated concert footage, its actors create memorable enough characters to offset these problems. It's great to see Jennifer Lopez finally land a major leading role and here she creates a very likable character. Olmos is equally fine as the loving, but overbearing father and his reactions to certain events leads to much of the film's limited humor. The heavy spectre of knowing what's going to happen at the end hangs over the production, although when the murder finally occurs it's presented in a very brief, haphazard fashion. The film makers, of course, wanted to focus not on the singer's death, but on her radiant life, and the film does show why she became such a sensation. The shooting style, however, is odd and distracting at times, especially when the screen is split into three shots much like what was the norm in the filmed concerts of the 1970's. In addition, the lip synching is atrocious at times during the scenes covering the young Selena years. These are nit picky items, but they do lower the quality of the film and often give it a made-for-TV feel. With a bit of editing and more of a conservative film making approach we probably would've given this film a higher rating. As it is, we give it a 6 out of 10.
    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    There's very little to object to in this film. Profanity is sparse with just 1 "s" word and only a few other minor words uttered. The title character is shot and killed at the end, but none of it's seen on screen and it does occur very quickly. There's a little bit of bad behavior here and there and family tensions rise over Selena's growing relationship with one of her band mates. There is, however, a strong, positive family message as her family works and travels together, but still manages to be a close-knit unit. Even when the Selena/Chris relationship threatens to sever her and her father's relationship, it eventually turns out all right and Chris is accepted into the family. Beyond the above, the other categories are relatively lacking in objectionable material. Even so, since your kids may want to see this, you should read through the content listings to decide how appropriate this film is for them.

    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Abraham and his band play in a bar (in the 1960's) where the angry patrons throw empty beer bottles at the stage.
  • Chris and another band member drink beer in a hotel room.
  • Empty beer bottles are seen in a hotel room that's been trashed by several of Chris' heavy metal friends.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • None.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • In the early 1960's, Abraham and two buddies are aspiring musicians and get a chance to audition for a "gig." When the manager sees that they're Mexican American, however, he changes his mind (saying on the phone that his place only serves "whites" and can't have Mexicans performing there) and gives them ten dollars for their "trouble" of coming out to his place.
  • In the early 1960's, Abraham and his two buddies play rock n' roll in a club where the patrons want to hear Mexican music. The band doesn't know any and as a result a man rushes the stage and pushes one of the musicians back, and others then throw beer bottles at the stage. Outside, the crowd throws beer bottles at the police car that drives the band away.
  • Several of Chris' heavy metal friends trash a hotel room, breaking mirrors, throwing food on the wall, etc...
  • A woman in an expensive clothing store looks down her nose at Selena and her friend, thinking that they shouldn't be there. When Selena asks to see a dress, the woman states that she doesn't think that Selena will be interested in it due to its cost.
  • Some viewers may see Abraham's over bearing tendencies toward his daughter as having a little of both attitudes.
  • Selena and the others find out that Yolanda has been stealing from them, and in another scene she gives Selena a ring but fails to mention that others contributed to buying it.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Younger kids may find the ending where Selena is shot to be a little tense since they might not know exactly what's going on (a young girl at our screening kept asking about what was happening).
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Gun: Used to shoot and fatally wound Selena, but neither the gun nor the act of using it is seen.
  • Handgun: Held byYolanda Saldivar to her own head as she sits in her truck after shooting Selena.
  • Rifles/Handguns: Briefly seen as the police arrive on the scene of the shooting.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Angry fans throw beer bottles at Abraham and his band (in the early 1960's).
  • Selena and her sister sit on the roof (as kids) and look at the moon (and dream of shooting for the stars).
  • During a performance, Selena takes off her shirt and performs wearing just her bra (with pants of course).
  • Several of Chris' heavy metal friends trash a hotel room, breaking mirrors, throwing food on the wall, etc...
  • Selena bungee jumps.
  • Selena and Chris elope and get married although they know that her father will not be happy about it.
  • Phrase: "Shut up."
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • There are just a few scenes with just a hint of suspenseful music in them.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • 1 "s" word (and another slang term, "caca"), 1 slang term for breasts ("boobs"), 1 damn, and 2 uses of "Oh my God" and 1 use of "My God" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Abraham is seen in his underwear as he gets into bed. Later, Selena removes her shirt and performs in just her bra (but nothing's seen and of course she still has her pants on).
  • Selena and Chris talk about having kids (after they're married). He then scoops her up and races inside saying, "Okay, let's get started."
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Abraham's wife, Marcella, is upset that he quit his job to run his Mexican restaurant. Later, we see that the business failed and the family is forced to sell and move out of their home.
  • Abraham pushes his kids toward success from the time they're youngsters to later when their adults. At times they argue over this, and Marcella isn't always happy about his quest for perfection.
  • Abraham forbids Selena and Chris to see each other (date) again, and this nearly drives Selena and her father apart.
  • Chris briefly mentions to Selena about his parents splitting up when he was five and the thought that he'd never see his father again.
  • We see slow motion reaction shots of Selena's family reacting to the news of her death.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The historical accuracy of the film.
  • What actually happened to Selena (younger kids might not understand that she was shot since it's not seen), and why she was shot.
  • That a young Mexican American girl grew up and achieved her dreams (meaning she's a good role model for kids, especially for young girls).
  • VIOLENCE
  • In the early 1960's, Abraham and his two buddies play rock n' roll in a club where the patrons want to hear Mexican music. The band doesn't know any and as a result a man rushes the stage and pushes one of the musicians back, and others then throw beer bottles at the stage. Outside, the crowd throws beer bottles at the police car that drives the band away.
  • Several of Chris' heavy metal friends trash a hotel room, breaking mirrors, throwing food on the wall, etc...
  • Several people are partially crushed, including one woman who's seen smashed against a fence, as a crowd of one hundred thousand people push toward the stage where Selena is playing.
  • Selena is fatally shot by Yolanda, but the actual shooting isn't seen. Yolanda then holds her gun near her head, as if to commit suicide, but nothing happens.



  • Reviewed March 19, 1997

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