Directed by: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Written by: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone
Starring: Javier Bardem, Maricel Álvarez and Hanaa Bouchaib
Uxbal (Bardem) is an everyday man who is cursed by his circumstances and blessed by his children. You see, Uxbal is a grifter. Working in the criminal underworld of Barcelona, Uxbal sees to the selling of fake Gucci purses, executed by African immigrants and made by Chinese factory workers. Uxbal, however, understands the value of human life more than anyone as he has gift in speaking with souls of the dead – stuck in the world because of things left unsaid and unfinished. After being informed by his doctor that he will only live for a couple of months at the most, Uxbal must get his priorities in order so that he can leave his children cared for and move on to the afterlife in peace.
While Uxbal doesn’t have much time left on earth, Biutiful certainly takes up more time than the average film. Despite this, it makes the most of its screen time without squeezing in too many subplots and exhausting its dramatic moments. Instead, Biutiful concentrates on Uxbal as the center of a universe that is dotted with characters that aren’t simply good or bad, but vastly complex and interesting.
Supported by engaging and engrossing performances (particularly from Javier Bardem), Biutiful is an apt title for a film that covers large-scale concepts in a human and deeply impressionable way.