Critic Reviews



Based on 17 critic reviews provided by
Carl Franklin's film is true to the tone and spirit of the book. It is patient and in no hurry. It allows a balanced eye for the people in its hero's family who tug him one way and another.
This material would never have attracted a major studio, so Christy Walton - heir to the Wal-Mart fortune - financed the picture herself, not because of any desire to become a movie mogul but simply because of her passion for the novel. She allowed the filmmakers to work without major stars or obvious commercial hooks added to the story. Although the film doesn't always sustain dramatic impact, its fidelity to the spirit of the novel is impressive.
What might have made Bless Me, Ultima more powerful would have been additional scenes with its mystical title character.
The results are pretty, and sometimes beautiful. They're also a tad stiff, and the dialogue and voice-over narration sometimes has the ring of a scrupulously faithful adaptation.
Obviously a labor love, and its very existence in a godforsaken marketplace is a minor miracle.
The film's interest in social themes remains background fodder within a far more generic good-versus-evil narrative.
It's an engaging yarn, set in a place, a time and among a people rarely represented on the big screen. But “Ultima” is a poetic novel that becomes prosaic on the screen.
The film often stumbles in translation, trying to define too many characters in too little time.
The film isn't overlong. But it tries to fit so many themes into its brief running time - that it merely touches on most conflicts instead of exploring them in depth or with any delicacy.
The lyrical book is filled with touches of magical realism. On the other hand, the movie is sorely lacking in both magic and realism. It's all very empty and blah.

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