About two and a half weeks ago my husband and I went to see “Beatriz at Dinner”.
I wanted to see the movie because it seemed timely given the current mood in this country about immigration and the current administration. However, the movie was so much more subtle and nuanced than I thought it would be.
The premise of the film is fairly straightforward. Academy Award nominee Selma Hayek plays a massage therapist/healer named Beatriz. After working a full day at a cancer treatment center in Santa Monica she makes her way down to Newport Beach to give a massage to a client named Cathy (Connie Britton). When Beatriz is done giving Cathy her massage she finds her car won’t start and when a friend isn’t able to make it to Cathy’s house until the next day to help Beatriz with the car Cathy invites Beatriz to stay for dinner as well as to stay for the night. That is when worlds collide.
It would be far too simple to say that Beatriz represents everybody who voted for Hillary Clinton last November and Doug Strutt (Two time Academy Award nominee John Lithgow) represents Donald Trump. The fact is the world is more complicated than that. As the evening unfolds we find Beatriz in a world she isn’t a part of. However, the worlds that collide are not only about ethnicity and immigration. They are about class and gender as well. There are a lot of conflicts that emerge over the course of the evening but they really aren’t about immigration (although immigration is touched upon). They are about the world we live in what is worth fighting for and what the bottom line for each of us is.
I find that there are three characters in the movie that represent who most people are. There are people who either are or wish they could be Doug Strutt. Meaning they aren’t awful people who look to harm but they care about money and being successful and don’t believe that there is anything wrong with making as much money as possible.
There are some people who are or wish they could be Beatriz. Meaning they want to believe in new age stuff and energy and have the ability to always speak up when something feels off to them no matter what the cost. Then again most of us are Cathy who is well meaning and genuinely considers Beatriz a friend. We (like Cathy) are people who are trying to navigate a world in which what is best for the world doesn’t always match up with what is best for us as individuals. Cathy, like most of us, are trying to figure out a way to bridge gaps, be inclusive, while not rocking the boat too much.
The performances from Hayek, Lithgow and Britton are all excellent. I also really enjoyed Academy Award Nominee Chloe Sevingy performance. Sevingy has really become an incredibly versatile actress over the last few years.
I highly recommend this movie for anybody who is looking for a break from summer blockbusters and enjoys a movie that will give you something to talk about.
In addition to seeing the movie my husband and I got to enjoy a Q&A afterward with Selma Hayek and the director Miguel Arteta.
It was really wonderful to hear their thoughts into how the film speaks to the world at large as well as the current political climate in this country.
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Here is a description:
Justin Gomez and his sister, Terri, have never been close. Separated by nine years and distant in adulthood, Justin and Terri have little in common, except for the love of her three children. In the days before they embark on a road trip to visit the father that once abandoned them and their now deceased mother, both Terri and Justin are dealing with unexpected changes in their lives. Justin surprisingly realizes he might want more than a series of one night stands after a first date goes unexpectedly well. After a lifetime of being a strong type A personality, Terri is forced to confront the reality of the end of her marriage. As they hit the road, with Terri’s children in tow, they find themselves forced to rely on and confide in each other following a devastating event. Confronted with memories from the past and challenges from the present, Terri and Justin must dig deep and unearth the truth about themselves and their parents in order to build a new family based on their love for each other.