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on 16 April 2018
A truly beautiful film!
Uxbal lives a life of petty crime in order to provide for his family and to get by through the daily struggles in a poor suburb of Barcelona. As we watch his personal struggles enfold to more dramatic proportions and get to understand the roots of his hardened character, a very human portrait surfaces and tells us a story about a father who fights relentlessly for his family whilst he tries to sort out relations in the process of his dying. Biutiful is raw but honest and as we briefly see by his dealings with others who resort to petty crime, Uxbal's dramatic struggles in an unfair society where everyone is made to fight for themselves are just a few of the many struggles experienced (albeit often hidden) by too many in our society to this day. Nothing seems to work and every endeavor to amend problems results in more drama. The title of the film underpins the main thought of the film: it is (spelled) wrong, but comes from a good place.
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on 19 March 2016
I would give the most stars not to director Inarritu or even to Javier Bardem but to the production designer Brigitte Broch whose stunning work together with the the Mexican cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto makes Barcelona look like Mexico City! The film's one flaw is the casting of Maricel Alvarez as Uxbal (Bardem)'s estranged wife. She is an excellent actor and played the part perfectly but because she is not beautiful it is impossible to attribute a motive to Uxbal (and his brother Tio's) fatal attraction to her. In Hitchcockian terms the characters motivations are not evident. I feel that Marambra's role needed to be played by a woman who looks like she is irresistible to men, and this would have at the same time reduced the film's excessive grimness. As it is, the only beauty in this film, apart from the quality of Bardem's acting, is in the viscerally realistic production and cinematography.
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on 2 September 2011
Like Frozen River, I selected this movie after hearing an interview with Javier Bardem on NPR Fresh Air (podcast/US National Public Radio program), following his Oscar nomination for his performance in the film. I am also a fan of Inarritu, his film Amores Perros is one of my favorite. Bardem spoke a lot about what it meant to him to star in a film which featured the other side of the city he grew up in, which people don't realize exists.

Biutiful is consistent with Inarritu's other films which deal with the 'grittier' side of life. Bardem is a single father (separated) dealing with a personal illness while trying to make sure his children are taken care of.

Other people say the film is hard and depressing. Could be. But I think it's real, and attempts to show how/why people make bad decisions, but without justifying those choices.

Bardem is convincing in his performance.

I would watch it again.
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on 2 August 2013
I didn't buy this film for the title, I bought it on the strength of the reviews I had read, and the presence of Javier Bardem. I was not disappointed. Bardem carries this film on his shoulders. Bardem plays a victim who refuses to lie down, a modern day would-be Robin Hood whose Sherwood Forest is darkest Barcelona and whose Maid Marion is on a downward spiral to oblivion.
This is not a film to be watched if you are depressed. The storyline leads you to a point where you start to wonder if things can get any worse, and they do, again, and again until you are searching for that one glimmer of light that will make everything right again. Whether you find it, depends on your mood.
The film is, beautifully shot, powerfully acted, painstaingly directed. It is an emotional roller-coaster. Five stars, no worries.
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on 5 May 2016
What a movie! I couldn't sleep that much after watching it. It's emotionally and psychologically really challenging, from the whole immigration/illegal workers problem, to the pathway through cancer. Not to mention the kuds and the bipolar disorder that affects their mother. Bardem is ABSOLUTELY brilliant! Highly recommended, a must!
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on 29 December 2016
Biutiful is an excellent movie, if not quite problematic. I think it holds onto these problems with a deep intention, and uses them to great effect, however, it can be quite disconcerting at times and as such might not be everyones cup of tea. For a more mainsteam example of the director's film style, see Babel, which may suit more people.
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on 26 October 2016
Gritty and sordid.
Excellent acting and interesting storyline, but really depressing as it focuses on the dark side of Barcelona and misses its beauty. I lived in Barcelona for 10 years and luckily never experienced this side of the city. I got so depressed I stopped watching it half way through.
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on 17 March 2016
The title of the film in a way sums it up - BEAUTIFUL but in an conventional way. A film mostly about love a mans will to do just in an unjust world. There is a strong undertone of man's fear of death and the legacy he leaves behind....it touches on so many important aspects of the corrupt society we live in but also the humanity and beauty that can grow out of struggles. The film really captured me from beginning to end....really stunning piece of work. Loved it.
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on 21 March 2015
This is a very moving film indeed from Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. You really care for the chracter of Uxbal and Javier Bardem gives a wonderful performance. Seeing the poverty that these people live in and how they just get on with their lives makes us realise how lucky we are. Really enjoyed this film but also very sad and emotional.
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on 19 February 2017
Beautifully acted, horribly depressing but well-told story. But dear God does dark and gritty have to interpreted so literally? It's so badly-lit that rather than make it seem 'real' it was constantly throwing me out of the story - I feel like I deserve an acting credit in this movie as even with the screen brightness turned up all the way I was watching my own horrified reflection for more than half the film.
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