Beatriz at Dinner

Movies, Comedy
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Beatriz at Dinner

A Mexican immigrant squares off with a boorish real estate tycoon in this biting conversation piece, the first major statement of the Trump Era.

In our moment of big, beautiful border walls, “bad hombres” and extreme vetting, this bleeding-edge satire’s premise seems as timely as the nightly news. A savage Buñuelian comedy, Beatriz at Dinner pits an oily variation on Donald Trump (John Lithgow in one of the juiciest performances of his career, which is saying something) against soulful Mexican masseuse and healer Beatriz (Salma Hayek) who, for all her gentleness, might end up murdering this douche bag over dessert. Beatriz isn’t exactly on the guest list; her car has broken down, and her white-guilt–stricken employer invites her to eat. But as soon as Lithgow’s real estate developer starts talking about his safari trips and the animals he’s bagged, pure vengeance shoots out of Beatriz’s eyes.

Screenwriter Mike White channels his inner rage and gets a surprising amount of it on the page. Together, White and his Enlightened director Miguel Arteta have an almost magical way with light-touch verbal sparring, an art that’s become lost in today’s broad, banter-filled comedies. The film gets so many exquisite details just right—the vacuous party guests, Hayek’s slightly self-righteous pose, the happy clink of the wine glasses—that it’s a letdown to realize the movie doesn’t have a proper ending. You take it home with you and argue about it.

Follow Joshua Rothkopf on Twitter: @joshrothkopf

By: Joshua Rothkopf


Release details

Rated: R
Release date: Friday June 9 2017
Duration: 83 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Miguel Arteta
Screenwriter: Mike White
Cast: Salma Hayek
John Lithgow
Chloƫ Sevigny
Connie Britton

Average User Rating

3 / 5

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Criticism focused on the stereotypical structure of the characters in this story misses the point - Beatriz at Dinner finds the subterranean rage in America and lifts it to the surface. 

A good satire takes sides, and this film does so without regret or hesitation. Lithgow's oligarch will generate an authentic response for anyone who has been reading the news recently. The attitude is pitch perfect. 

It may not be subtle, but the film nevertheless hits with the impact of a ton of bricks.

The movie was awful. The characters were incredibly poorly written stereotypes. The ending was a cop out. Character development was null. I thought the script was poor. This was a truly bad film.