Beatriz at Dinner Is a Sharp Reflection on Class and Immigration in a Society Teetering on the Brink of Fascism | Film Review | Indy Week
Pin It

Beatriz at Dinner Is a Sharp Reflection on Class and Immigration in a Society Teetering on the Brink of Fascism 

Connie Britton and Salma Hayek in Beatriz at Dinner

Photo Courtesy of Roadside Attractions

Connie Britton and Salma Hayek in Beatriz at Dinner

Beatriz at Dinner is a sharp reflection on class and immigration in contemporary American society—which is to say, in a society teetering on the brink of fascism. Beatriz (Salma Hayek) is a Mexican massage therapist and healer living in Altadena, California, whose car breaks down at her employer's mansion. The lady of the house, Cathy (played with aplomb by Connie Britton), invites Beatriz to stay for the business dinner that her husband, Grant (David Warshofsky), is hosting. By the time the guest of honor arrives—Doug Strutt (John Lithgow), a plutocratic land developer—we sense that something is off.

Mike White's script is exquisitely attuned to the fissures of conversational awkwardness through which irreconcilable social antagonisms reveal themselves. Beatriz regales the dinner party with tales of healing and magic, which the guests are at least slightly charmed by until it becomes clear that she isn't going to shut up. Beatriz's gentle but firm refusal to fade into the background and play the role of the cute but naïve outsider soon starts to grate on the guests. As she subjects them to an escalating series of moral, ethical, and spiritual interrogations, their polite tolerance of her difference starts to fade and their nihilistic sense of entitlement to the planet's resources becomes clear.

Beatriz at Dinner is a lucid, if visually and narratively modest, diagnosis of this moment in American history. Miguel Arteta's sensitive direction and light touch make material that might have otherwise been heavy-handed feel sharply critical but infinitely complex. The lonely, curious, empathic, and traumatized Beatriz is the kind of character we need to see on-screen more often.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Film Review



Twitter Activity

Comments

Great story, about a great story,H RomaineTennessee

by harold romaro on The Post Is Both a Master Class in Filmmaking and a Rousing Paean to the Free Press (Film Review)

Thank goodness somebody else saw it like this. Your criticism is spot on.

by Savijayy on The Tonally Incoherent Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Hasn't a Clue How to Manage Its Weighty Themes and Discordant Plot (Film Review)

Most Read

Most Recent Comments

Great story, about a great story,H RomaineTennessee

by harold romaro on The Post Is Both a Master Class in Filmmaking and a Rousing Paean to the Free Press (Film Review)

Thank goodness somebody else saw it like this. Your criticism is spot on.

by Savijayy on The Tonally Incoherent Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Hasn't a Clue How to Manage Its Weighty Themes and Discordant Plot (Film Review)

Jumanji Welcome TO The Jungle very different movie than the regular once . thank you for your honest review on …

by amarkayam on Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle Is a Tame, Bland Beast (Film Review)

I'm genuinely curious: What did you find racist about the Hong Chau character and/or performance? And what was sexist about …

by Glenn McDonald on The Average American Sees Five Thousand Movies in a Lifetime. Half of Them Come Out This Week. (Film Review)

When I saw that the movie "Downsizing" was mentioned in this copy of the Indy, I was expecting a blistering …

by bookwurm2736 on The Average American Sees Five Thousand Movies in a Lifetime. Half of Them Come Out This Week. (Film Review)

© 2018 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation