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.
The movie is at its best when it’s at its smallest: when Ganalon quietly watches Colon coax a dying young man into vomiting up his “curse,” or when Ganalon is getting laughed out of his classroom because he has a burrito in his lunchbox instead of a sandwich.
Offsetting stiff acting with rich atmosphere, visuals and music, this long-awaited picture hits the novel's key plot points without denying its spiritual soul.
Although Bless Me, Ultima can feel a bit overstuffed, it’s an honest and naturalistic kids’ story about growing up Mexican-American.
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.
Slant Magazine
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 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 film often stumbles in translation, trying to define too many characters in too little time.

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