Year of release: 2010
Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Stars:Javier Bardem, Maricel Alvarez, Hanaa Bouchaib, Guillermo Estrella, Cheng Tai Shen, Luo Jin, Ruben Ochandiano, Karra Elejalde, Eduard Fernandez
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7
Alejandro González Iñárritu's last two films were big critical successes, being nominated for several Oscars - "21 Grams" and "Babel". "Biutiful" comes again in the same vein as the previous ones, having been nominated for the Oscar for best Foreign Picture and best Actor for Javier Bardem. The film follows the story of Uxbal, a Spanish man who lives with his children in a small apartment in Barcelona. Uxbal lives of schemes, namely illegal African immigrants selling on the streets and Chinese immigrants working in construction. His ex-wife is bi-polar and can't control herself about basically anything, while his brother is involved in all sorts of illegal affairs and does drugs/alcohol non stop. Uxbal discovers his health is failing and his life starts to unravel as he tries to find a way to keep his young children safe and protected.
Iñárritu is a director who likes to probe the frailties of life, the apparent disconnections between people. With "Biutiful" he once again, explores a dramatic slice of life in Barcelona, one where corruption, extreme poverty and social decadence exist, as part of every day life (and he shoots it very documentary style). In this film he injects a spiritual/paranormal component that somehow lifts Uxbal from all that gruesome suffering and pain that surrounds him. This is a film where the pain of every day life is only balanced by the joy of small moments with the ones you love, in Uxbal's case, his two young children and the memories of his father. Javier Bardem carries this film with anguish, pain and such sadness, unlike any other role he has played before. He is, as always, excellent. This is a film, that beyond it's bleakness has something not many films these days do: a beating heart.