Biutiful by Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu

This here is a series of brief overviews of films that are to be screened in the Bangalore film festival 2011. Almost all details are from Wikipedia/IMDB

Biutiful is a drama film directed by Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu and starring Javier Bardem. It is González Iñárritu’s first feature since Babel and fourth overall, and his first film in his native Spanish language since his debut feature Amores perros. The title Biutiful refers to the orthographical spelling in Spanish of the English word beautiful as it would sound to native Spanish speakers.

It was nominated for two Academy Awards in 2011 – Best Foreign Language Film and Best Actor, which it lost to In a Better World and Colin Firth for The King’s Speech, respectively. Bardem’s nomination makes his performance the first entirely Spanish language performance to be nominated for that award. Bardem also received the Best Actor Award at Cannes for his work on the film.

Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes reports 64% of critics featured on the site gave a positive review of the film at an average rating of 6.4/10 based on 131 reviews. Kirk Honeycutt of the Hollywood Reporter calls the film, “a gorgeous melancholy tone poem about love, fatherhood and guilt”, and describes Bardem’s performance as “…a knockout.”[1] Betsy Sharkey of the LA Times wrote, “Bardem gives a performance of staggering depth, unquestionably one of the year’s best.” [2] A.O. Scott from the New York Times writes, “ Mr. Iñárritu creates a feeling of raw, sprawling intimacy…every shot is full of emotional and social detail.” [3] Roger Ebert wrote “What drew me into the film and engaged my sympathy was the presence of Bardem…a vastly human actor.” [4] Steve Pond of The Wrap writes Bardem’s performance is a “towering achievement”. The film has been overwhelmingly well-received in many countries including France and the UK. Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian writes, “The fluency and confidence of Inarritu’s cinematic language are really spectacular. It may not convert, or convince, but it is certainly arresting: not magic realism exactly, but rather the director’s very own brand of magic naturalism”.

At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film has so far received an average score of 58 .[5] Some reviews criticized the story as being too bleak. Justin Chang of Variety accused Iñárritu of being “…stuck in a grim rut.” [6]

Filmmakers Sean Penn, Werner Herzog and Michael Mann have been very outspoken in their acclaim for the film. Herzog likened it to a “poem” and Penn compared Bardem’s performance to that of Marlon Brando’s in Last Tango in Paris. Hollywood star Julia Roberts has also been very supportive.

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