Critic's Pick: 'Bless Me, Ultima'

A deeply satisfying feat of storytelling, "Bless Me, Ultima" makes a difficult task look easy. It combines innocence and experience in a way not easy to categorize but a pleasure to watch. Taken from Rudolfo Anaya's landmark book, "Bless Me, Ultima" was a challenge because though it has a 6-year-old protagonist, likely material for a Disney film this is not. Which is why Carl Franklin is the ideal person to bring it to the screen. As the director of the mother-daughter drama "One True Thing," Franklin understands emotion. But he also did the violent "Devil in a Blue Dress," so the bad things that happen are treated dispassionately, as if they are part of life. Which is the whole point.

Kenneth Turan


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