Biutiful (2010)

Opinion & writing by Tony Frame

The first thing that struck me about Biutiful is that it really conveys the word struggle in every way. Javier Bardem is a man struggling financially, physically and with his own conscience after being diagnosed with terminal cancer and given only months to live.

Images courtesy of IMDB

Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s up-close-and-personal direction really does immerse you into a world that is rife with poverty whilst focusing on a man struggling with the fragility of his relationship with his mentally ill wife and two children.

Bardem’s character, Uxbal, is a cold, hardened persona who is at the forefront of organising jobs for illegal Chinese immigrants.

What adds to an already multi-layered story is that Bardem’s character is an actual psychic (who can see and speak to the dead) who offers his services to those who seek answers from their recently deceased loved ones.

Images courtesy of IMDB

The relationships with everyone involved felt so ingrained with the writing and performances that I felt myself slipping out of the realms of actually watching a film.

It was as if there was no acting, no blocking – everything felt so real and natural. This is a testament to the direction and the actors, including the children, not to mention it features one of the best depictions of bipolar disorder I have ever seen on screen.

Images courtesy of IMDB

The film plunges you into a dark underworld of Spain and engrosses you into a story that is visually stunning at times and engaging throughout, despite the 148 minutes running time. It portrays poverty with such detail and realism it puts a film like Parasite (2019) to shame.

Ultimately I felt the film encompasses similar themes and feelings that was in the director’s highly successful film Revenant (2015), for which he won the Academy award.

Fans of the latter film would be missing out if they didn’t give Biutiful a viewing – it’s certainly up there with Iñárritu’s best work and one that that I would recommend to all cinephiles.

My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu (as Alejandro González Iñárritu)

Writers: Alejandro G. Iñárritu (screenplay) (as Alejandro González Iñárritu), Alejandro G. Iñárritu (based on a story by) (as Alejandro González Iñárritu) | 2 more credits »

Stars: Javier BardemMaricel ÁlvarezHanaa Bouchaib | See full cast & crew »

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