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|Index||128 reviews in total|
This movie is one of the finest (and most harrowing) emotional cinematic journeys I have ever experienced. The opening two scenes raise so many questions; which are answered by the juxtaposition of the final two scenes in a wonderful (and surprising) manner. The portrayal of life in its ordinariness (and the extra-ordinariness within) is a joy in its honesty, challenge, beauty and reward. There are reflections on psychological conditions, racism and even capitalism to some extent in its portrayal of a struggling life in Barcelona. There are some very, very difficult scenes to endure; but this movie is an experience worth enduring. I would truly recommend this film; though be prepared for a not-so-easy ride.
Unlike 21 Grams and Amores Perros, Inarritu deviates from the 4 lives -
1 story line - and completes his "Death Trilogy" with the story of one
man, Uxbal, who touches many lives in some way shape or form, and
appropriately is able to sense the dead and help them pass on safely to
the after world.
Uxbal is not perfect. Although you can tell he has a heart of gold, he makes a living helping illegal immigrants find work, always with his cut of the pay. Although for the most part, people trust him and turn to him for help, sometimes his good intention land him in trouble.
Biutiful is all about paradoxes. The title is the Spanish phonetic spelling of "Beautiful" yet most of the film is set in the lower income, gritty neighbourhoods of Barcelona. Uxbal uses his ability to ease the dead of their debts in life and sort out their affairs, yet he struggles with settling his own affairs. Even his relationships with other people are paradoxes - he is obviously not completely okay with her promiscuity, yet he understands - he is harsh and strict with his son Mateo but does not stand for his wife's physical abuse of him - but his most important relationship is one with himself. He reconciles this by learning to let go, learning to let the universe take care of everything, as Bea, his healer confidante, had told him.
Biutiful is a beautiful film, but it is not perfect. There are some plot holes that are left unanswered (for example, whether the Chinese immigrants receive justice for their death, whether Uxbal's grief is ever really atoned). I think these unanswered questions are left open to interpretation though, as that seems to be Inarritu's style in these type of films.
A great watch, although dark and at times deeply depressing, there is a small glimmer of hope at the end of the film - and I think that's what important to take away from this. Despite everything, life is biutiful.
I had never before such a thrill seeing a movie. Maybe its because I
have never seen such movie. I even might say that it was better than
Almodovar's movies because it is provocative without being provocative,
being sad without making you sad, mind blowing without blowing your
mind, serious without being serious, scary but not frightening you,
funny without making you feel happy. Probably because it was realistic.
The amazing city scenes which were captured in unique moments are speaking about exploring these places where the film was shot. The intrigue and the thrill started instantly. they escalated slowly like a blown balloon which was burst at the end. The dedication also was extremely touching "To my beautiful old oak... my father".
The movie shows a possible story (I only doubt that this man would have two children of his girl and would deserve such a life) which can happen everywhere around us. It shows where is hidden the real human thing, the biutiful, even not knowing how to spell it.
In my opinion, amazing mixture of bounden duty, sent message, director's and actor's skills. And this is the reason why I rate it with the most possible stars.
P.S. It is not for everyone's taste!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Another good picture by Iñarritu. It describes a miserable Barcelona and the problems that poor people and emigrants have. The description, the photography and the pace of the movie are great, but in the end there are nothing you can hold on to, it's misery, misery, misery. Because of his raw portrait of slums in Barcelona, the movie looks pretty good, but in the end there are no catharsis to turn it into a great movie. As always, Javier Bardem is very good, it really convinces me of the character's suffering. The rest of the characters were pretty well cast, but they are overshadowed by the strong Bardem, a negative note for Hanaa Bouchaib, in any part of the movie she could transmit the feelings that were on the argument, in the other hand, I loved Guillermo Estrella and Maricel Álvarez, it's very hard to put a child acting as if doesn't look like it's acting, but Guillermo always look like very sincere doing the character, as for Maricel Álvarez I loved her bipolarity mood changes.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This powerful, dark, brutal, and unrelentingly stark movie is so
compelling and so thoughtfully filmed, you soon find yourself
thoroughly immersed in the squalid events and surroundings of the
characters' lives; a challenging existence played out in the midst of
filth and crumbling buildings in an impoverished part of Barcelona, the
home of Uxbal - played brilliantly by Javier Bardem. The continual pall
of the shadows that darken his features, mirror the grim environment
and nearly every scene is a landscape of shadow and gloom; a
claustrophobic and desperate existence that inexorably crushes Uxbal
and his family. The endless rain and clouds perfectly reflect the
bleakness that is Uxbal's life; entrenchment in an inescapable cycle of
poverty, hardship, and/or exploitation. This dreary environment,
coupled with his pitifully dysfunctional family life, contribute to
Uxbal's despair and threaten to crush his spirit. Bardem portrays
Uxbal's depression and hopelessness consummately; from his downcast,
crushed demeanour to the inevitable exhaustion and pain he battles, as
a terminal illness ravages him. Even the 'sexuality', depicted fitfully
throughout Biutiful, is sad, ugly, sordid and completely devoid of any
vestige of eroticism; tainted with despondency and exploitation, it
evokes only pathos and disgust. Uxbal's life is nothing short of sheer
chaos as he struggles to care for his two young children while his
bi-polar, drug-addicted wife, Marambra, played hauntingly by Maricel
Alvarez, flits in and out of their lives, leaving in her wake a trail
of turmoil and anxiety. One brief scene of happiness and 'normalcy'
where he and his wife enjoy a meal with their children, stands out in
stark contrast to the numerous vignettes of abuse, neglect and sorrow
that normally stalk their lives. However, despite all that he is up
against, Uxbal's love for his children is clear and he strives to care
for them as best he can; this is evident when his daughter demands to
know what's wrong with him and, finally liberated from the burden of
hiding his impending death, he is able to show her his love and urge
her not to forget him.
Despite his deteriorating health and miserable family situation, Uxbal must work and his involvement in several illegal money-making operations result in the exploitation of migrant workers. He tries his best to make their lives a little more tolerable, in contrast to his indifferent and often callous 'partners' but, ironically, it is one of his kind gestures that ultimately leads to a horrific catastrophe. Guilt, shame and horror at what he has been a party to haunt and consume him and he descends further into despondency and depression as his death approaches.
Biutiful may be a dark, painful and brutal portrayal of life but at the end of the day, Uxbal's selflessness and desire to do the right thing by his children, his troubled wife, and those whose lives he has tainted or destroyed, pay homage to the inherent goodness and strength of the human spirit, making this movie so much more than the portrayal of a sad and futile existence.
This is one of the most impressive movies I've ever seen on the topic
of death. It is profound and dramatic. Uxbal, Javier Bardem, is the
father of two little kids, he is dying of cancer. The movie talks about
his struggle to leave his daughter and son in good hands.
It took me two times watching it to understand it for what it was, a work of art. Iñárritu puts its very unique style into every narrative decision the film makes. The camera is hand-held and Rodrigo Prieto's cinematography is impeccable.
As usual in every Alejandro González Iñárritu film there are three stories that unite. But instead of an accident or a terrible incident, what unites this story is Uxbal's desperate need to make ends meet, also his compassion towards others. Javier Bardem is the Marlon Brando of our generation, this is a bold statement but it's completely true. The big problem with acknowledging his talent is that most of his work is in Spanish and living in such an English based film era most of the world doesn't get the chance to see this genius perform.
I've heard criticism towards the amount of stories that unite in this film because it dilutes Uxbal's tragedy. I don't believe that to be true. All of the stories support the central theme of the movie, death.
If you want to see a work of art that makes you think and challenges us as audience with all it's bitterness, rawness but most of all heart on the subject of loosing the ones you love and not knowing what will happen to them once we die, watch this film.
This film is pretty sad. I'm not going to lie. And that takes a lot
coming from me. ( I'm a pretty pessimistic guy) But what this films
does, it does well and it is helped by one of the greatest foreign
actors of our time, Javier Bardem.
Uxbal is a low level criminal boss who lives with his 2 kids in a small apartment. He's divorced from his wife, who is an alcoholic and partially insane/ bipolar. He controls some of the darker parts of the Spanish underworld, like Chinese sweatshop workers and African American vendors who sell off the cheaply made goods. And oh yeah he can communicate with the dead. You would think the story would be about that last statement and it sort is but it's more of a plot point. Uxbal is recently diagnosed with Cancer and he is set to die within 6 months. So the movie is him trying to set up his kids and businesses to succeed when he's gone. The film paints a very realistic picture of what happens. It's not sugar coated and everything goes well.. He fails at doing at lot but what the film does is post a really great picture of a dying man in desperate attempts to give something back into life. Javier Bardem performance is also outstanding. He has the most range of human emotions of actors of our time. This performance like many people say is reminiscent of Marlon Brando's in Last Tango in Paris. The cinematography at the beginning and end scenes is great but most of the film is average in the category. The supporting cast is solid in their jobs but its really Javier Bardem's show. Music is kept to a minimum which works in this kind of realistic movie. Finally I love the style of the movie and Innarutu, one of the most consistent foreign directors of recent memory.
Overall this film is depressing but biutiful (see what I did there) film which excellent,y showcases an acting talent of our generation. Incredibly touching
I had a cousin who had a daughter who was killed by a rapist. Her son died in a motorcycle accident. When she was in her forties, she contracted brain cancer. Sometimes life in its random way picks out certain individuals for a bevy of pain. It was really hard to watch this film because despite the terrible decisions this man made, he still didn't deserve the circumstances that reveal themselves. The movie drags us through a cesspool from which there is no escape. The only thing one can feel some solace for is that despite the errors of his life, this man is loved. Even though it is in a small measure, he would gladly change his situation. The acting is superb and the direction captures us from the first scene. I can't recommend this film unless you are willing to be brought to the brink.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Never before have I seen a film more aptly titled. Nor have i seen it
more juxtaposed. The artistry befits the word; the cinematography, the
editing, and the camera-work make me want to repeat the word over and
over. I won't, I promise. However the story is tragedy personified.
Worse than tragic, it's ugly. Biutiful is everything we don't want to
think about and the heartache rarely relents; when it does it certainly
doesn't allow your tears to run dry. Throughout all 147 minutes
Alejandro González Iñárritu has his audience bent over in both sadness
When it's sad it really is sad. Sadness I doubt many will ever encounter outside of this film. My favourite scene (and believe me that's some statement) was completely missed by the person I was watching the film with. Why? She was sobbing uncontrollably and completely unaware of the wonderful camera-work at play on screen. In one long, extraordinary shot we see the much-loathed lover of a Chinese boss as we had before, at the window of a dingy hotel room. Only this time it's different. It feels completely different. Perhaps it's the amateurish way the camera slips nervously from its position. Perhaps it's the glimpse of blood we see in the blurred background as the lens desperately tries to fix its gaze on something significant. One thing is for certain though and that's the sheer brutality of what has happened. When the murderer eventually leaves the camera follows him from the window to the door and back again capturing, in detail, the events of what had just taken place. The final static shot shows us his exit from the view he would've had just moments ago. We see the confident walk of a man complete.
Happiness is hard to come by in a story so sad but when it appears it's so incredibly raw and true that the viewer would be forgiven for showing more emotion in these parts than in some of the sadder scenes. Happiness is more shocking than the other emotions conveyed by Iñárritu as it's unexpected. Biutiful is desperate, lonely, spiteful, wretched and wonderful in about that ratio. For every moment of joy there's 4 times that in misery. This only makes those moments more poignant. Javier Bardem's character Uxbal is deeply troubled, the mother of his children is bipolar and he has little patience for her mood swings that we can only assume have plagued him forever. Amongst the many moments of chaos we are indulged in a blissful exhilaration that can only be present in such environments. When Uxbal is urged to recall how he proposed to his wife his children listen with delight and their pleasure is quite remarkable. As, I imagine is the audience's.
Uxbal is a man. He's heroic in every way and a success in none. Emotionally wreck-less yet exceptionally driven. He desperately wants to provide for his children and will let nothing stand in his way. His torment is everywhere. He doesn't want to die but there's nothing he can do about it, the cancer is terminal. All he can do is make his peace and provide for his family after he's gone. And he'll stop at nothing to do so. What makes his story so compelling is that he cares. His conscious constantly gets in his way.
Iñárritu is ambiguous. We've seen so before in Babel and it's even more evident here in Biutiful. The film begins and ends with an owl metaphor where Uxbal is told that when an owl dies it coughs up hairballs. The meaning behind this is unclear although unsurprising given that Iñárritu litters his films with unanswered questions. What we do know is that the guy who tells Uxbal this metaphor is in fact Uxbal's father who died young. There's no way of knowing this when we see him at the start but mercifully Iñárritu shows us a photograph of the man in the the middle so we're in no doubt the second time around. Again the significance of this is vague; does Uxbal simply want his children to remember him when they're adults? Or is it more about the relationship between him and his own father?
Ultimately Biutiful is a story of hope. Uxbal's haunted by his past but works tirelessly to make the future better. We go deep inside his subconscious throughout the film. On two occasions we see a dead Chinaman glued to the ceiling with Uxbal in the foreground. Is Iñárritu trying to show us they weren't ready to go? The third and final time we simply see the indentation of a body. Is this a sign that Uxbal is? His torment is over and he can pass knowing his children are provided for. Ige, who Uxbal allows to live with him and whom he entrusts his family to almost flees but she doesn't. She comes back. She provides hope.
So, I found it necessary to write a review for this film. I never wrote reviews to anything and probably will never write again. I saw the score for this movie on IMDb and it was a 7.4, I as well remember when the movie played it did not cause a particular stir beside the Oscar nomination it received. In order to evaluate this film one has to consider the purpose of films and art in general. It is my belief that the best art causes us to feel, to have an emotional experience. So often I went to films, concerts, and art exhibits better or worse and came out of them with an empty feeling. Nothing happened to me. "What did I just pay for" echoes in my mind. I will go further and say that a film that does not cause this emotional response is not art. It may have been created artfully but it is not art. This film is art! It is probably one of the best films that were ever made. It is not perfect but it does not matter. The story, the acting and the directing have the guts of a Shostakovich symphony. This movie deals with the reality of existence. With real death and not the generic Hollywood version of it. It deals with the love for your children and trying to protect them as much as one can from a monstrous world. It as well found a way to show the mystery and mystic of existing in times we so often take it for granted. There are a handful of movies that even dare to deal with these ideas and none that I recall are as successful. IMDb reviewers can give it a 7.4 or a 2.4 but this film will eventually find its place as a monumental artistic achievement in the history of movie making.
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