Wednesday, December 13, 2017
BEATRIZ AT DINNER (2017)
Directed By: Miguel Arteta
Written By: Mike White
Cinematography By: Wyatt Garfield
Editor: Jay Deuby
Cast: Salma Hayek, John Lithgow, Connie Britton, Chloe Sevingy, Jay Duplass, Amy Landecker, David Warshofsky
An holistic medicine woman spends her life absorbing the pain of all those unfortunates that she comes in contact with while attempting to heal them. She is invited to a dinner party by a client/friend when her car breaks down putting the hostess in the awkward position of having Beatriz join a dinner party with people whose lives are foreign to hers and she begins her judgement of them all. She is self absorbed and incapable of self healing. She forces her opinions on the group and for such a healer as herself has no difficulty inflicting violence on the group as a whole and finally on herself.
The film is obviously more of a showcase dramatically for Salma Hayek. Who does what she can with the role. but soon The film becomes preachy and idealistic which normally one can take and maybe even enjoy, but this film quickly becomes insufferable.
The film has no likeable characters really, but they are that way for no particular reason. Just meant to showcase the peppers that be and the privileged. Especially as the cast is recognizable but given so little to do except stand around and stare and they are given nothing to Work with. At least if it was more theatrical In it’s presentation they would have added it all had their own point of view to interject.
Salma Hayek is supposed to be the heroic character. Who we are supposed to be sympathetic to and root for. She might even be seen to represent the audience or parts of it. Though she is just as opinionated, insufferable and rude in her reactions. As much as the more villainous CEO John Lithgow’s character. They are both loud mouths. He is just more crude in language and attitude. Though not in behavior. Where as she is more salt of the earth.
The film sets up a scenario that seems to lay groundwork for privileged Caucasian characters to be seen as villains and more condescending. They aren’t likeable but not evil snobs, but not hateful. As the two leads take over the narrative and both are rude try not to get their opinions across.
The movie would be more dynamic if the script was leaving there to be more interaction for the supporting cast and also leaving the film more open to debate on subjects and lifestyle choices. Rather than people getting talked down to.
The film seeks to have a point or make a statement, but it feels hollow and seems to get lost in it’s ideals and spiritualism.
The film is set-up in limited locations so that it feels more of a theatrical piece but says very little. What it does allows conservatives to pick it apart and liberals with nothing to really say that hasn’t been already. It’s not supposed to be political but seems aimed that way.
It’s unfortunate as this is another film where Salma Hayek gets a rare leading role. Where she should get her chance to shine, but is left with not a lot to do or play. Especially after recently playing noteworthy scene stealing supporting roles in other films.
The film seems to gain steam as it goes along. Only to falter and stay in a low plane. Especially as the ending goes from being riveting to a cop out and then just weak.
Director Miguel Arteta films usually deal with class struggles and taking a look at those who are usually under represented on screen, but here not sure who this film is aimed for. As for those in the know this film is nothing new. Nor has anything new to say or teach and for those uninformed I can’t see this film really opening their eyes or really finding any interest here.
It’s a shame as the premise has such a loaded potential.