2 July 2017 | Red-125
Not a must-see film, but it's better than its rating would suggest
"Beatriz at Dinner" (2017) was directed by Miguel Arteta. It stars Salma Hayek as Beatriz. Beatriz is an immigrant from Mexico, who is a healer. She uses massage, Rekhi, and many other alternative therapies to help her clients. She is a sensitive, caring person. One of her clients is Kathy (Connie Britton), a very wealthy trophy wife.
When Beatriz's car breaks down at Kathy's house, Beatriz is invited to join a dinner party with two more couples--two men with their trophy wives. One of the men is Doug Strutt, (John Lithgow), a very, very wealthy man.
Strutt represents the type of man that does evil things to his workers and to the planet. He's very good at what he does, and makes a fortune doing it. He knows what damage he is causing, and has absolutely no regrets. Naturally, a confrontation occurs at dinner between Beatriz and Doug. What happens next is the plot of the movie.
The problem with the film for me is that all the characters--obviously, other than Beatriz--are stereotypes of rich people. Even despicable rich people must have some conscience somewhere. (At least I hope they do. I don't know any super-rich people.)
Another problem is the setup of the film. If a car has trouble starting once, and even more trouble starting a second time, you know that it's going not going to start the third time. Also, Beatriz drinks too many glasses of wine. A healer like her probably wouldn't do that. (That's my judgment.) However, the drinking weakens the plot because it's not clear whether Beatriz would have spoken out the way she does if she weren't drunk. Beatriz is supposed to be determined and self-reliant. She shouldn't need alcohol as an excuse for expressing her opinion.
Both Hayek and Lithgow are excellent actors, and they play their parts well. I kept thinking that there was a great movie in there somewhere, but director Arteta didn't know how to bring it out. So, it ended up being a pretty good movie, but not a great movie.
I'm glad we saw this film, but I can only recommend it up to a point. It has an anemic IMDb rating of 6.5, which I think is too low. I considered rating it 7, but I gave it an 8 because Salma Hayek does so well in portraying Beatriz. The movie has some beautiful outdoor shots, but it will work well enough on the small screen. There are some better films out there, but there are also some that are much worse. See "Beatriz" and decide for yourself.