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Biutiful (2010)

tomatometer

65

Average Rating: 6.4/10
Reviews Counted: 142
Fresh: 92 | Rotten: 50

Javier Bardem's searing performance helps to elevate Biutiful, as does Alejandro González Iñárritu's craftsmanship, but the film often lapses into contrivance and grimness.

74

Average Rating: 7/10
Critic Reviews: 35
Fresh: 26 | Rotten: 9

Javier Bardem's searing performance helps to elevate Biutiful, as does Alejandro González Iñárritu's craftsmanship, but the film often lapses into contrivance and grimness.

audience

75

liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 20,077

My Rating

Movie Info

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

May 31, 2011

$5.1M

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All Critics (142) | Top Critics (35) | Fresh (92) | Rotten (50) | DVD (6)

Iñárritu has a delicate yet searing sense of intimacy, which cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto captures with hand-held determination.

February 11, 2011 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Watch Bardem here -- his eyes speak heart-rending volumes.

February 11, 2011 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

With the exception of an otherworldly prologue that remains mysterious well into the film, Biutiful is an unusually linear feature for Iñárritu, but no less involving or challenging than his previous works Babel, 21 Grams and Amores Perros.

February 10, 2011 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

When life is less inviting than death, the eye of the beholder is inclined to look away.

February 4, 2011 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An overloaded agony parade of a film that's such a grim march to devastation that it should be hard to watch. And, OK, it is. But with Bardem at its center, it's like watching a lush train wreck.

February 4, 2011 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Despite a commanding, Oscar-nominated performance by the always-interesting Javier Bardem, there's a quality of manufactured misery to "Biutiful"...

February 3, 2011 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film is beautifully photographed and incredibly effective. Holding it all together is a brilliant central performance by Javier Bardem.

July 24, 2013 Full Review Source: We Got This Covered
We Got This Covered

This bloated drama is redeemed by its focus of a man caught between two distinctive and memorable worlds.

June 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Big Hollywood
Big Hollywood

Ugliness as "art."

January 22, 2013 Full Review Source: Movie Nation
Movie Nation

Bardem and Iñárritu draw you in to a story that says so much about not only its individual characters but also of life, exile, love, family and death.

July 14, 2011 Full Review Source: Digital Spy
Digital Spy

Unwatchable without Javier Bardem's affecting, devastatingly committed performance, Biutiful plunges the viewer into a shapeless, sprawling character study that functions as nothing less than a punishing reminder of how rotten the universe can be.

June 21, 2011 Full Review Source: Flicks.co.nz | Comments (3)
Flicks.co.nz

Even though this movie piles it on, I can see its positive values and the potential it would have to reach the hearts of its audience.

June 16, 2011 Full Review Source: Window to the Movies
Window to the Movies

Bardem faultless, Inarritu not so much

May 26, 2011 Full Review Source: Movie Habit
Movie Habit

Excellent performance by Javier Bardem lifts a movie that often drags.

May 24, 2011 Full Review Source: Akron Beacon Journal

Biutiful is an exploration of fatherhood, guilt, culpability and mortality.

April 11, 2011 Full Review Source: Cinema Autopsy
Cinema Autopsy

It's The Human Centipede for people who think they're too fancy for The Human Centipede.

April 4, 2011 Full Review Source: Movies.com | Comments (3)
Movies.com

Strikes a wrong chord.

April 3, 2011 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews | Comments (3)
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Javier Bardem was Oscar-nominated for his performance and the film got a nod for best foreign-language film, but don't let that fool you; it's a stodgy, self-important slog.

March 31, 2011 Full Review Source: The Age (Australia) | Comment (1)
The Age (Australia)

The fleeting line between life and death is explored in Biutiful, a well acted yet depressing portrayal of a man in purgatory.

March 24, 2011 Full Review Source: Matt's Movie Reviews
Matt's Movie Reviews

This cinematic journey of one man along the boundaries of life and death is an extraordinary work of genius.

March 23, 2011 Full Review Source: Screenwize
Screenwize

The film, whatever its intentions, winds up just being deeply depressing and, at nearly 2 1/2 hours, it's a very long slog indeed to the finish.

March 23, 2011 Full Review Source: At the Movies (Australia)
At the Movies (Australia)

What a film! Javier Bardem has always been impressive and convincing, but he's never been better than this.

March 23, 2011 Full Review Source: FILMINK (Australia)
FILMINK (Australia)

The film seems ponderous, weighed down and elongated by an overactive poetic sensibility

March 21, 2011 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

A towering performance from Javier Bardem is the leading light in this poetic tragedy from director Alejandro González Iñárritu in which a man finds redemption in the quagmire of his life

March 21, 2011 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Simultaneously intensely personal and profoundly universal, Biutiful shows there can be grace, and yes, even beauty in death.

March 17, 2011 Full Review Source: The Vine
The Vine

What to say of ... a hard going, unpleasant film with a disconcerting undercurrent of xenophobia that is impeccably performed and (mostly) well crafted? ... No, seriously, I'm asking for your help.

March 15, 2011 Full Review Source: Quickflix
Quickflix

Audience Reviews for Biutiful

"Biutiful" is a near masterpiece of human suffering, dank realism, and redemption; being that this is the fourth film from the acclaimed Iñárritu, you should already get the hint that it tends to focuses on the former instead of the latter. Make no mistake, this is a heavy film in every sense of the word, and that might isolated viewers. But "Biutiful" is more than it's plot synopsis suggests. Iñárritu balances many complex themes effectively, and though the tale concerns a dying man coming to terms with it's predicament, "Biutiful" doesn't pigeonhole itself. It's as expansive and broad as the director's ambitious, multicontinental opus "Babel" from 2006. Javier Bardem gives one of the performances of his career here, and is the reason that the picture is so emotionally devastating and honest, without feeling forcefully so (which is miraculous considering the pigment of it's subject matter). It's a testament to the films craft that even it's unexpected supernatural elements are handled with such conviction, never making a conflict in tone or logic. Unrelentingly Grim, and yes...beautiful, this is in many ways Iñárritu's finest work to date. Same goes for Bardem.
April 8, 2013
YLOWBSTARDreturns

Super Reviewer

Biutiful is a long, endlessly bleak gloomfest made worthwhile by a transcendetal performance by the great Javier Bardem. The talented filmmaker Alejandro Innaritu provides a backdrop rich with detail and atmosphere. All his other tragic films, (worth seeing) contain multiple story lines, in the case of Babel, set all over the world, but somehow tied together. These multiple story lines somehow leaven the atmosphere and make the films very eclectic and watchable. Here, for the first time, he focuses on the devastation of one guy in one self contained scenario - and what devastation! And unlike the book of Job, there's no interesting debate on the nature of god or an explanation of the meaning of it all.

The setting is present day Barcelona among the underclass of illegal immigrants, smugglers, hooker and drug dealer/users. What I quarrel with is that Innaritu has jam packed the woes suffered by Bardem to include, just for a start!!, terminal cancer, two cute kids, who happen to have an irresponsible hooker addict mother (who is sleeping with Bardem's brother), Bardem being complicit in the mass murder of illegal Chinese immigrants who work in a hidden sweat shop.

The thrust of the drama is wondering whether Bardem will find a way to get his affairs in order before his inevitable death a few weeks hence. There's almost no break for the tragedy, and therefore, one becomes benumbed to the pain quite early in the two hour and forty five minute running time.

I don't know what message he's after here other than life sucks and everyone you're close to will always let you down and the kids will be the ones to suffer. Also, if you think the lovely Gaudi buildings will at least give some visual relief from the misery, you'll be let down. They are never shown. Instead, it's the mouldy appartments and mean streets of the armpit of Barcelona. If this wallow in hell appeals, it's certainly worth a rental, and Bardem is really worth watching. The real tragedy is that his performance was not in a more balanced and multi-faceted film, but in a dirge like wallow of misery.
December 31, 2012
Josh Morris

Super Reviewer

After discovering that he is dying of cancer, a father and smuggler tries to "put his affairs in order."
Javier Bardem can do anything. He chilled in No Country for Old Men, he made us laugh in Vicki Christina Barcelona, and his dramatic work in The Dancer Upstairs and The Sea Inside enthralls. And now he brings us Uxbal, a soulful, damaged father who is hard to classify. His profession as a smuggler of illegal immigrants who are essentially slave labor makes him "bad," but when he buys them heaters and frets over the best care for his children, he immediately earns our sympathy. Bardem plays all the nuances. He can scare as readily as he can inspire tears. His work in this film is beyond compare, and if I had seen this film in 2011, I might have changed my Oscar vote (not that I have a vote).
Writer/director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu mines familiar territory, and anyone who has seen 21 Grams won't be surprised to see themes of faith, spirituality, and fate explored in this film. But the universality of these themes and Inarritu's deftness as a filmmaker make Biutiful seem fresh, more original than his other films.
Uxbal seems to have the ability to speak to the dead, and people occasionally perch from the ceiling, which I think is Inarritu's way of showing their souls watching the characters. With all the good filmmaking in Biutiful, the wonderfully human story of a father making sure his kids are well-cared-for after his death, I don't think the film needs this element - the speaker for the dead subplots - in order to be successful.
Overall, Biutiful is indeed beautiful, made more so by one of the master actors of our time.
October 13, 2012
hunterjt13
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

Too sad and depressing, this solid drama attempts to create an unbearable sensation of tragedy that does not always feel genuine. Even so, it benefits from a strong performance by Bardem, who is able to inject some complexity to his character despite the rather artificial plot.
February 24, 2012
blacksheepboy

Super Reviewer

    1. Tito: It's dangerous to trust a man who is hungry.
    – Submitted by Chad E (2 years ago)
    1. Ana: What is it? A booger?
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
    1. Uxbal: Don't forget me, my love, please.
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
View all quotes (3)

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