Biutiful poster


I wanted Biutiful to be beautiful. Rather it’s a painful movie to watch, and the beauty of it comes a little too late.

By painful, I mean, thats some of the scenes are tough viewing material, and I am not saying that the film is painfully bad, although I must admit that at a runtime of 148 minutes, it does to feel laborious, especially a non-essential ‘strip-club’ scene, which carries on for way too long.

Javier Bardem is Uxbal, the main protagonist here. Bardem received an Oscar nomination for this role, and rightfully so. The performance by Maricel Alverez as a manic and depressive free spirited mother is also, in my opinion, Oscar worthy. But, this is Bardem’s film and with director Aeljandro Gonzalez Iñarritu writing the script with Bardem in mind, there isn’t probably a better actor out there to have played this role. In fact Javier Bardem became the first all spanish speaking actor to be nominated for Best Actor. Unfortunately he lost to non other than Colin Firth for his amazing performance in The King’s Speech.

javier vs colin firth

maricel alvarez and javier bardem

Life, death and coping with guilt are the main subject lines for this film, and because it comes from Birdman director Alejandro, do not expect a light view of these topics, but rather a dark and brutally honest take. You really have to be in the mood for this one my fellow Film Munchers. I don’t know if you can really ever be in the mood for morbidity, but if you’re inclined to enjoy the odd art-house film here and there, then Biutiful is for you.

My favourite part to this film is the ending, and ironically it is also my least favourite. The thing is that Uxbal’s life isn’t just about his life, he has a family, he has people that rely on him. When we understand Uxbal’s fate, this is uncomfortably comforting. What about the fate of the others, Uxbal’s kids? Enough said, I don’t want to spoil this for anyone…

biutiful still biutiful still

This film requires a commitment, and if you’re not prepared to make that commitment, then it’s best left for another time, because what will most likely happen is, you’ll try and watch this film over a few sessions, as opposed to one concerted viewing, and it will ruin it for you. Film Munchers, this film is worth a visit, because it dares to explore serious issues, but you’ve been warned, it won’t be as beautiful as you think.

TRIVIA COOKIE: Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu spent 14 months editing this film. This doesn’t come as a surprise to me, because there is a complex feel to the way the scenes are cut, considering that the film’s story is mostly told in a linear fashion. Must have been frustrating for Alejandro!?

alejandro frustrated