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Biutiful (2010)

 -  Drama  -  22 October 2010 (Mexico)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 53,830 users   Metascore: 58/100
Reviews: 117 user | 277 critic | 33 from Metacritic.com

This is the story of Uxbal, a man living in this world, but able to see his death, which guides his every move.

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: Biutiful (2010)

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 19 wins & 41 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Marambra
Hanaa Bouchaib ...
Ana
Guillermo Estrella ...
Mateo
Eduard Fernández ...
Tito
Cheikh Ndiaye ...
Ekweme
Diaryatou Daff ...
Ige
Taisheng Chen ...
Hai (as Taishen Cheng)
Jin Luo ...
Liwei
George Chibuikwem Chukwuma ...
Samuel
Lang Sofia Lin ...
Li
Yodian Yang ...
Chino Obeso
Tuo Lin ...
Barman Bar Hai
Xueheng Chen ...
Chino Bodega
Xiaoyan Zhang ...
Jung
Edit

Storyline

Uxbal, single father of two children, finds his life in chaos as he is forced to deal with his life in order to escape the heat of crime in underground Barcelona, to break with the love for the divorced, manic depressive, abusive mother of his children and to regain spiritual insight in his life as he is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Written by anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for disturbing images, language, some sexual content, nudity and drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

| |

Release Date:

22 October 2010 (Mexico)  »

Also Known As:

Biutipuli  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£156,029 (UK) (28 January 2011)

Gross:

$5,100,937 (USA) (3 June 2011)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The audible heartbeats in the scene where Uxbal hugs his daughter were achieved on set with microphones stuck to the actors' skin while they hugged. See more »

Goofs

In the scene where there are three dead boys lying, the hands of the middle boy changes in between shots. See more »

Quotes

Marambra: [weeping] If I close my eyes then the thoughts start. They make me scared. I called you. I called you many times. I can't give the children what they need. I'm so sorry I was cruel to Mateo. I'm doing what I can to survive. I really want to be faithful to you, but I also like to have some fun... like a whore.
Uxbal: Don't say that, Marambra. Forgive me. I've never known what I should give you; I still don't know. Something... I've never known. But we have hurt each other so much.
Marambra: Take me with you on ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Featured in The 83rd Annual Academy Awards (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Let the Music Play
Performed by Barry White
Written by Barry White
Courtesy of Universal Music Mexico S.A. De C.V.
Publishing Warner Chappell Music Mexico S.A. De C.V.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Interesting, but hardly biutiful...
12 February 2011 | by (Italy) – See all my reviews

Biutiful is a departure and a confirmation for Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu: on the one hand, it is another study of lives gone awry, with no punches pulled in regards to the misery experienced by the characters; on the other, it's the first film he's made he parted ways with screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga, who preferred to move on to other projects after Babel. Biutiful proves two things: firstly, Inarritu remains very good at constructing memorable images; secondly, these aren't worth quite as much without Arriaga's words.

Set in Barcelona, the film ditches the filmmaker's traditional fragmented, multi-character narrative, focusing solely on one imposing figure: Uxbal (Javier Bardem), a man who has to deal with his own imminent death from cancer, a dire relationship with his family (wife, kids and brother), his ties to local criminal activities and, more generally, the ugliness he sees every day walking down the streets. Surely the (intentionally misspelled) title must be ironic.

Working on the script himself, Inarritu goes for a simpler story, but doesn't renounce his penchant for harrowing material. In fact, Biutiful is undoubtedly the least cheerful film he's directed to this day, and that's saying something. His depiction of a gray, ugly Barcelona is faultless, exposing the city's seedy underbelly and disease (both physical and spiritual) with genuine, relentless storytelling passion. However, this is also detrimental to the film's impact: without Arriaga's more experienced take on the subject, the director doesn't know when to stop, throwing in one tragedy after another for the best part of the movie's 148 minutes, with no pause for breathing. It's almost too bleak, too tragic, to fully convince as a drama.

Does this mean all the praise Inarritu has received in the past was premature? Not really. Even his detractors usually acknowledge his talent with actors, and in this case, perhaps being aware of the script's shortcomings, he has hit the jackpot: from start to finish, Bardem is a revelation, justly awarded with the Best Actor prize in Cannes. Sure, he's always been a gifted thespian, and no stranger to difficult parts (see The Sea Inside), but here he's really in a class of his own. Communicating with his sad, tired eyes rather than his broken voice, he carries the whole picture with a stoic dignity that is always gripping and heartbreaking.

While easy to mock and criticize, Biutiful, for all its flaws, warrants at least one viewing on the grounds that it proves beyond doubt that sometimes a truly astounding performance can save an otherwise mediocre film.


36 of 58 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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