Sunday, February 27, 2011

Biutiful: A little film review of sorts

Well, this is really more an outright film recommendation than a review. I saw Biutiful last night. Very powerfully poetic film. Javier Bardem (I think he's now officially my favorite non-American actor) plays Uxbal, a single father who is suffering from terminal cancer and only has a couple of months to live. He takes care of his two young children, and also runs this shady business which tries to set illegal Chinese and Senegalese immigrants up with under-the-table employment opportunities. The whole movie is very beautifully made. One feels this super-heavy sense of tragic inevitability from the opening of the movie. You know he's going to die from the very first frame; there's just no getting around it. But you stay with the movie anyway, because you want to see how he discharges his various commitments and obligations to people around him, and comes to terms with the fact of his own mortality, and the various complex feelings that this brings up.

Warning: You probably shouldn't watch this movie if you are having a very bad day.

But in a way, the movie isn't just about Uxbal; it's about us. Yes, you and me. Because we are terminal too: We are all going to die someday. Perhaps there might even be a sense in which he is in a better position than we are. At least he knows his "time limit"; we don't. I don't know whether I am going to die tomorrow or fifty years from now.

Gee, this is getting a bit heavy. Anyway, I highly recommend the movie. Just don't watch it on days when you are looking for some stand-up comedy.

May the Force be with you.


  1. I've been looking forward to this film for quite sometime. I really enjoyed Alejandro González Iñárritu's other films (Babel, 21 Grams, Amores Perros). I'll hopefully see it this week. Not sure if my girlfriend would like to see it since, she's more of a happy movie type.

  2. Hmm... interesting...maybe when the spring comes around... perhaps to riski to face reality right now :-)

  3. I was going to see this movie last night but our service at Wasabi took too long for us to see it. Oh well, I shall be seeing it soon anyways I'm sure.

  4. @Chris, I've seen Babel, but Biutiful is way heavier. Maybe you can watch a funny/light movie with your girlfriend first, and then watch this :-)

    @Claudia, yes, maybe the spring is a good time for such an endeavor. It's coming soon, anyway :-)

    @Kevin, it's too bda you didn't get to see it last night. But I hope Wasabi was great :-)

  5. Thanks for the review! Sounds like a movie I'd be interested in watching.

  6. Just saw the movie. Amazing film. This movie very realistically portrays this phenomenon in some parts of Europe. When I was in Barcelona quite a few years ago I didn't really see this, but recently in Genova, Italy, I totally did see young African men running in and out of dark alleys getting umbrellas and cheap purses from little Chinese shops and trying to sell them on the street. I was really confused at the time but this movie explained the phenomenon. I was also told by Italian sandwich shop waitresses not to wander around by myself at night, even though it was only 9pm and the streets were full of people. I was saddened because Genova is such a gorgeous town.