Biutiful (2010)



Critic Consensus: 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.

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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 the inheritances bestowed from father to child, and the paternal guiding hand that navigates life's corridors, whether bright, bad - or biutiful. -- (C) Roadside Attractions
R (for disturbing images, language, some sexual content, nudity and drug use)
Art House & International , Drama
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Written By:
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Maricel Alvarez
as Marambra
Lio Jin
as Liwei
Luo Jin
as Liwei
Cheikh Ndiaye
as Ekweme
Yodian Yang
as Chino Obeso
Tuo Lin
as Barman Bar Hai
Xueheng Chen
as Chino Bodega
Ye Ailie
as Hai's Father
Xianlin Bao
as Hai's Mother
Karra Elejalde
as Mendoza
Nasser Saleh
as Muchacho
Tomás del Estal
as Hombre de Luto
Ángel Luis Arjona
as Niño Muerto
Dolores Echepares
as Señora Funeral
Adelfa Calvo
as Mujer Grande
Manuel Solo
as Médico
Violeta Pérez
as Enfermera
Germán Almendros
as Cirujano 1
Isaac Alcaide
as Cirujano 2
Nacho Moliné
as Cirujano 3
Annabel Totusaus
as Secretaria Fincas
Eduardo Gómez
as Hombre Semidesnudo
Ramón Elies
as Empleado Cementerio 1
Juan Vicente Sánchez
as Empleado Cementerio 2
Félix Cubero
as Burócrata
Carmen Peleteiro
as Mesera Ma
Leticia Albizuri
as Chica Joven 2
María Casado
as Presentadora Informativos
Judith Huertas
as Reportera Informativos
Aroa Ortiz
as Stripper
Sonia Cruz
as Stripper
Sophie Evans
as Stripper
Dunia Montenegro
as Stripper
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Critic Reviews for Biutiful

All Critics (144) | Top Critics (36)

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

February 11, 2011
Denver Post
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | February 11, 2011
Globe and Mail
Top 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.

Full Review… | February 10, 2011
Toronto Star
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | February 4, 2011
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top 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.

Full Review… | February 4, 2011
Detroit News
Top 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
Seattle Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Biutiful


This sad, depressing drama wants to create an unbearable sense of tragedy that doesn't always feel genuine, but even so it benefits from a strong performance by Bardem, who is able to inject some complexity into his character despite the rather artificial plot.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


"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.

Michael S
Michael S

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.

Josh Morris
Josh Morris

Super Reviewer

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