Salma Hayek's exercise in self-pity and social consciousness was a bit... embarrassing. Don't get me wrong, the film is very easy breezy and was perfect for a Sunday night in bed... but the characters are SO one-dimensional that it just feels like a waste of a great ensemble cast. It's like... "The Silence of the Goats", with zero nuances or depth.
This is not at all a comedy. It is a parable on the excesses of capitalism. I have a proposal to change the title: "Beatriz' Choice". The movie starts boring. In the middle, when having dinner, it comes up, but misses the opportunities. The end is suprising & disconnected. All in all, a solid movie (due to Mrs. Hayek & Mr. Lithgow), which unfortunately couldn't exploit the apparantly existing potential.
What an extremely challenging film this was. I'm fairly smitten with this right now, but I'm not surprised as I adore Miguel Arteta's work and consider Mike White a treasure. Beatriz at Dinner sits nicely in 2017 as an examination of Trump's America showing us the line that divides the people with lots and the people with nothing.
Doug Strutt is a Donald Trump's alter ego and Newport is Mar-a-Lago. Since they can't Get Out, the colonized, the marginalized, the exploited, the disenfranchised, the modern slaves, the immigrants can only self immolate, discreetly. There will be no revolution. Just extinction. A bleak, but utterly realistic depiction of The United States of Plutocracy in 2017. P.S. It's a "comedy" only for the white 1%.
Truly awkward viewing here that's a clever and effective way to demonstrate the disconnect between our two selves; the sophisticated consumer and the planet damager. Fantastic to see the disgusting practice of big game hunting for fun lambasted as well. All this is packaged together as a sort of straight sitcom that then veers off into magic realism and the haemorrhaged psyche. 3.5 stars
Salma Hayek gives the best role since her famous portrait of Frida Kahlo. "Beatriz at Dinner" bluntly manipulates with some spiritual, emotional and harmony themes, though tv style script and camera work don't allow to turn into more complex and well-heeled dramedy as decent cast (including always shining J. Lithgow and Ch. Sevigny) simply doesn't create the adequate chemistry and temper.
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.
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.
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