Review, Theatrical

Time for a Reel BEATRIZ AT DINNER review

Beatriz at Dinner

You just never know what someone might be going through on any given day. Always keep that in mind before hastefully passing judgement on that person. We’re all one moment away from doing something great, just like we’re all one moment away from completely losing it and doing something unimaginable. Beatriz at Dinner is a brooding dark comedy that deals with some of these moments of emotions.

Beatriz (Salma Hayek) leads a simple life she enjoys putting positive energy back into the world. Beatriz is a spiritual healer and masseuse. She has touched many lives throughout the years of her work. Even though her current situation isn’t ideal at the moment, she still only focuses on having a positive impact on others around her. It is this natural drive heal that leads to the home a family that she has helped many times in the past. Cathy (Connie Britton) and Grant (David Warshofsky) have known Beatriz for a long time due to her work in helping the family through a challenging time with their daughter.

Beatriz ends up staying at the house longer than expected due to unforeseen circumstances. While most evenings this probably wouldn’t be a problem, on this fateful day everything seems to lead to problems. The attendees to this celebratory soiree are in a very different social and economical class than Beatriz. Aside from the awkward conversations had, there is a weird explainable (well at least for a while) connection between Beatriz and one the party’s guests. Doug Strutt (John Lithgow) is a difficult man to like and even more so once you get to know him better. Unsurprisingly, the two butt heads throughout the evening all while Beatriz tries to help Doug become a better man. Sometimes impossible is just impossible.

Beatriz at Dinner has been categorized as a comedy but it’ll be very easy to see that there is MUCH drama to along with the scarce pure comedy moments. Anyone planning to see this one needs to understand that it isn’t meant to be “haha funny.” Things are funny because they’re so absurd. At the same time that same absurdity can lead to sadness because of how true it is in everyday life. Salma Hayak turns in a solid performance with her passionate speeches from the heart and John Lithgow digs his feet in to give audiences a very big target as someone to despise. Aside from those two, the rest of the performances were average at best. More times than not, the supporting actors just seemed like unused place settings at a table for seven but only two are eating.

It will be a challenge for Beatriz at Dinner to find success in the theater. There just isn’t a clear and obvious audience that will read the synopsis or watch the trailer and say to themselves, “ooh I really need to see this.” The story ends up being a decent one but no enough to where I can give it a strong recommendation. And even though it’s lacking throughout, it pales in comparison to the ending. Even if I had given in mostly high marks for 90% of the film, the last five minutes sealed its fate as a movie that can be easily skipped.

If Beatriz at Dinner is a movie that you still feel strongly about seeing, it’s now playing in select theaters. My recommendation though would be to wait until you can see it at a discount or wait until it’s showing on television.

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