Review: La Niña

Ana María Estupiñán in La Niña

La Niña is a series from Colombia, based on true stories about children abducted from their families and forced to fight as soldiers. The main character is the girl Belky. Some of the names have been changed in the telling of her story, but the story is basically accurate.

Belky is played as a teen through university by Ana María Estupiñán. When the story begins Belky is taken away from her home because she volunteers to go in place of her brother, who is sick. She doesn’t escape from the guerillas until she’s 15. Even after she escapes, they continue to hunt her. She knows too much. She must be vigilant at all times.

Her time with the guerillas was full of horrors, which makes her a fierce and forceful character who can stick up for herself and others.

She’s given asylum in a reformatory of some kind. A priest and a woman named Dr. Tatiana  (Constanza Camelo) recognize her intelligence and her already adept knowledge of medicine. They urge her to become a doctor. She goes through high school in a year and a half, passes the university entrance exams, and enters university.

I’m not able to pick out the name of the actor playing the priest on IMDB, even though he was an important character. The material on IMDB about the cast and the various episodes is totally inadequate. It doesn’t even list a director’s name.

Belky doesn’t have a straightforward journey. She falls for Manuel (Sebastian Eslava) early on, and continues to care for him over the years. She’s reunited with her family. Her family, especially her mother (Marcela Benjumea), are unsupportive of her desire to study and go to university. They are in danger because of her and must uproot their own lives to stay safe, a problem that weighs on Belky.

When she reaches the university, other students try to sabotage her education and Manuel is accused of murder. Nothing is easy for Belky, which makes her determination and grit all the more admirable.

La Niña has an amazing 86 episodes, all from 2016! I confess I have not seen them all yet. I’ve watched quite a few and know that the series is engaging throughout and all too real. In the last of the 86 episodes, Belky agrees to let her story be used in a film.

My Spanish is middling good in terms of understanding, but, boy the Colombians speak fast! And with great emotion! Actually, I think there were 100 episodes of La Niña, but they talked so fast they got in done in only 86.

Ana María Estupiñán was wonderful in the lead role. The other actors were good as well. There are locations in the jungle, on farms, in several crowded cities, and in the university.

Unfortunately, this preview doesn’t have English subtitles, but you see Belky as a child protecting her brother, her mother’s laughter when she hears Belky wants to be a doctor, and Manuel in the early stages of their romance. You get a glimpse of the evil Colonel who buried her up to her neck and who searches for her after she escapes.

Watch La Niña on Netflix.

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12 thoughts on “Review: La Niña”

  1. Thanks for the review. Would you mind please changing the country’s name to its correct spelling, Colombia, not Columbia? Thanks!

  2. Enjoying the series and currently on Ep 33. I’m curious if there was a hair and makeup dept? “Connie’s” hair disturbs me so much….

    1. IMDB does has someone listed as the hair and makeup department, but only for one episode. However, I don’t think that’s correct, because many of their crew listings says one episode. I think their information is just not properly updated there.

  3. There needs to be a season 2. Everyone is invested in Belky. The hunt for her cannot be over and her efforts to become a doctor need to go beyond the current end. A book would be a best seller and the real Belky needs to be given credit for her accomplishments. That is not to say she needs to be identified because we don’t want her dead either.

    This was clearly a movie that needed to be made.

    What is most impressive was how this movie brought women’s issues into focus without rubbing people’s noses in them. Colombia is believable but it isn’t hard to see Colombia’s issues with fair treatment of women are sadly still almost universal.

    I think this movie is much more than a movie. It’s educational and that’s another reason why this story needs to go forward. It’s too important a social commentary to let it stall.

  4. This movie is too important as a social commentary to let it stall in what essentially is the middle of the story. We all saw what happened with the vote at the university. What has happened since is the continuing story. How has the public accepted the real Belky or was her identity completely concealed?

    The bigger story is the numerous women’s issues that are universal. This series deals with these issues in ways many need to learn from. As such it’s a great and existing platform that is thought provoking and full of topics people need to talk about.

    Don’t let it die.

    This story would have been impossible to film in America and many other counties due to the nerves it crushes. For example, Tatianna’s husband is a guy who has too many clones and worse in every country. If it had been an Oscar contender, it should have won every category. Nothing I’ve ever seen touches it.

    Tatianna’s marriage story needs extension and expansion, ugly to watch as it would be. People need to know. People like her husband need to be exposed and he was far from the worst.

    We can’t be done with Barragán either since being in jail in a wheel chair is no obstacle to evil. He still has powerful friends and probably political backers even he doesn’t know about yet. You don’t get to be a colonel without powerful allies – especially if you are a corrupt one. People like that are adept at covering their asses. He has a lot of potential.

    There has to be a political and big business angle to this story because the guerrillas are getting support and funding from many directions. Belky may not have know anything at all about that but being a target would ramp up her awareness just by being who she is – bright and afraid.

    Manuel is a boat anchor with no vision for the potential Belky represents. That’s not her view of course but it’s painfully clear to the audience. It makes Belky’s position so much harder – much like her own family.

    The reality is that her colleagues at the hospital do see her potential but still haven’t really come to grips with what they have.

    The real life person might not agree with any of this for important personal reasons. She still has a potentially precarious life to try and live and nothing can be allowed to interfere with that.

    But the series has a life of its own with a number of very important messages that need to be heard and seen and even more importantly- felt.

    As long as that can be done without compromising the real Belky. On the other hand maybe she needs it. Worth asking.

    The producers, directors and crew did a spectacular job. Please pick up where you left off if possible.

  5. I watched all of this story, please make a fellow up , I loved it , once started I could not quit, I stayed up till like 3 am some nights, this was one of my favorite, loved all the actors & actresses in it, please we need a fellow up ,

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