Salma Hayek anchors an often very funny yet emotionally souring look at friction between classes and what happens when an unseen minority becomes the elephant in the room amongst fat-cats. The moral and ethical vapidness of the characters is solid, with John Lithgow's cocksure mogul character existing on Hayek's level of commanding the screen. A bit too pedantic and dreamlike at times, but well-written all around.
Not entirely the cringe comedy it's being billed as. Indeed, it bites off a lot to chew: not just friction between classes, but different ways of detaching from reality. It can be heady stuff, and I think it demands much subtler satire and balanced observation of human behavior. So much of its comedy seems dreamed up as a sitcom premise, but it's best moments come when it defies its established caricatures.
Salma Hayek gives an incredible performance here and John Lithgow is at his most dickish here. An obvious parallel Trump era ideals and politics this is a powerful film that has a lot to say about our society and the way we treat other people and the consequences that follow our actions. This is an emotional roller coaster that will make you laugh, cry, and think all at the same time.
Of course we’ll line up to see Hayek take on the 1% in frumpy mom-jeans. It’s the movie we deserve! Sadly, it's nowhere near the one we need... At best, a let-down; neither comedic nor dramatic enough to justify the two-dimensional caricatures that pass for its characters. At worst, blatantly opportunistic, and underpinned by a disturbing neocolonial exoticization of the Other. A tepid, well-acted disappointment. 2.5
I wonder what this movie would be like told from another perspective, or multiple perspectives? Hayek is great but only seeing the film's social conflict through her eyes gets repetitive. If the initial setting was the bougie castle, and we see Hayek enter into it...? I wonder. Great cast but supporting players get short shrift. There is a sublime moment of violence. Made me wish Enlightened didn't get cancelled.
I have a special weakness for Mike White, who is probably the writer who has influenced my work the most. Like Laura Dern in Enlightened and Molly Shannon in Year of the Dog, Salma Hayek's Beatriz is a self-righteous (but incredibly earnest) woman who means well, wants to affect change in the world, and suffers tremendously in the process.
Also the Enlightend score is used!!