Saturday, July 8, 2017

[Review] Beatriz At Dinner

Salma Hayek gives a splendidly tenacious performance in Beatriz At Dinner, a meditative and strikingly relevant drama of culture clash.

Beatriz (Hayek) is a spiritual soul, making a living at a holistic healing center, and as a personal masseuse for a haughty couple (Connie Britton & David Warshofsky) in the Hollywood Hills. One day, they invite Beatriz to stay for dinner with a few other guests. And well, it doesn't take long for things to get uncomfortable, as Beatriz finds herself at odds with the table's bigot and controversial real estate mogul (played by John Lithgow).

The whole film takes place over the course of one evening, and director Miguel Arteta stages the tension-filled scenes with an unhurried but substantial touch. Through character backgrounds and cross-table conversations, the topics of racism, class, privilege, immigration, property seizing, and different views of the American Dream arise--and that's all before dessert! It isn't subtle, but in a political climate of drastics, not a lot is...

Salma Hayek is the guiding force of the film, embodying a richly drawn character who's all at once compassionate and sensitive, hard-nosed and confrontational. And as despicable as John Lithgow's character is, he plays the jerk role incredibly well, and with a Trumpian arrogance that is, let's be real--probably not a coincidence.

Just like the conflicts in the world today, the film portrays an ongoing struggle and unfortunately offers no easy foreseeable resolutions. Beatriz is a healer, but ironically, the pain that shows in her own face is undeniable. And like the film's unsettling ending--it haunts.

( 7.5/10 )

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