Twenty years ago today, on 31 March 1995, Tejano superstar Selena Quintanilla-Pérez was shot and killed in her Corpus Christi hotel room by Yolanda Saldívar, the president of her fan club. Yolanda had been caught taking money that fans had sent for merchandise. Selena had gone to meet with her under the impression that Yolanda was going to show her papers proving her innocence. Instead, she shot the Grammy winning artist, who died shortly after.
Two years later, a biopic was made on her life, staring newcomer Jennifer Lopez as Selena. Although J. Lo (as she’s known today) had been in films since 1989, Selena was her breakout role. And it’s no surprise once you watch it.
I have to admit, I’d never seen it before tonight. I’d always wanted to, but never got around to it. Even my mom asked how I’d never seen it before. I was set on watching it today, though. Thank God for Google Play!
Anyway, seeing as it was made a mere two years after her murder, I was afraid it was going to be a rushed made-for-TV movie. That it’d only show the public side of her life that everyone already knew or just focus on one part of her life (which seems to be common with biopics these days…Hitchcock, My Week With Marilyn, etc…). My fears were confirmed when the opening credits were her performing.
Of course, after the opening credits it goes back to before she was born, in 1961. It shows her father trying to get a band started, but the fact he and the other two members were Mexican kept stopping them. From a racist club owner to a Mexican club wanting Mexican music (they played songs like Blue Moon).
Fast forward to 1981. 9 year old Selena and her siblings are forced into a band by said father.
The film really shows her whole story. At the beginning, she and her siblings were pleading with their father to not let them be in a band. By the end of the movie, they’re winning Grammys. You know, that old story.
But seriously, what I loved most about the film was that even though her death was still fresh on everyone’s mind, they didn’t make the movie depressing. There’s plenty of comedy in there, and I lost count how many times I laughed. You really get to see how close that family was, so when it shows their reactions to the news of her death, you’d be heartless not to at least tear up.
I’d say it’s the perfect tribute to Selena. Though, admittedly “too soon” (imagine if they announced a big budget movie about the life of Robin Williams. I’m pretty sure more than a few people would be upset), it was a very well done biopic.
In my search for a featured image, I found this. I loved it, but couldn’t use it, so I’m going to just end this review with it.