Synopsis: Biutiful is a love story between a father and his children. This is the journey of Uxbal, a conflicted man who struggles to reconcile fatherhood, love, spirituality, crime, guilt and mortality amidst the dangerous underworld of modern Barcelona. His livelihood is earned out of bounds, his sacrifices for his children know no bounds. Like life itself, this is a circular tale that ends where it begins. As fate encircles him and thresholds are crossed, a dim, redemptive road brightens, illuminating the inheritances bestowed from father to child, and the paternal guiding hand that navigates lifeâs corridors, whether bright, bad â or biutiful.
Release Date: December 29, 2010 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Uxbal (Javier Bardem) is a good father, tangled up in a world full of deplorable things. Raising his two young children alone in the slums of Barcelona he does the best he can and keeps them sheltered from the life of crime he is involved with outside the home. His love for them is without question, even as the toll of taking care of them can be seen across his face. Uxbal’s story is burdensome. When faced with impending death his life swiftly changes from protecting his children today to finding a way to secure their uncertain future. His wife suffers from addiction problems as well as a personality disorder making her unfit to raise the children. He has no close friends to speak of, and his brother is not trustworthy. Uxbal is very much alone, while being surrounded by people every day. Complicating matters is Uxbal’s profession. He is an exploiter. Whether it is the selling of knock-off products to people on the street through illegal aliens from Senegal or brokering out the Chinese illegal’s as day laborers he is involved with the unsavory.
Biutiful is a film about a man in crisis who is trying desperately to do right by his children while also reconciling what he has done wrong on a spiritual level. Shot with a clear ‘take to the streets’ approach the camera work is handheld and rough. The colors muted yellows and browns with little light. The only loveliness that exists in this dark world is the love shared between Uxbal and his children. As a desperate ill man he refuses to let them see his pain, or experience the fear of knowing their father will soon be gone. Javier Bardem is remarkable in his portrayal of Uxbal. The deepness of emotion that registers on his face is transcendent. As fine a performance as his is and although the film is heavy with emotion it feels very scattered and without a clear focus. There are the trademark multiple story lines of Director Inarritu but it is only Uxbal’s story that finds any sort of actual development. Everything comes back to him and the extra instances of seeing other characters in their personal lives feels unimportant. As beautiful and meaningful as the film is, and how it resonates deeply with the viewer from the father-child bond that is presented, it does not have a tight enough structure to keep the mind from wandering. It appears that Inarritu has introduced more than is needed in order to convey Uxbal’s story, resulting in a memorable love story between a father and his children getting lost amongst the excess.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Alejandro Gonzalez InarrituJohn Kilik
- Producer(s): Alejandro Gonzalez InarrituArmando Bo
- Screenwriter(s): Javier Bardem (Uxbal)Maricel Alvarez (Marambra)Eduard Fernandez (Tito)
- Story: Diaryatou Daff (Ige)
- Cast: Cheng Tai Shen (Hai)Luo Jin (Liwei) Stephen MirrioneRodrigo PrietoBrigitte Broch
- Cinematographer: Gustavo Santaolalla
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score:
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: SpainMexico