“We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life, is rounded with a sleep” One moment you can have something that is beautiful, a family, a successful career, and complete euphoria, but the next moment can be filled with sadness, conflict, or despair and then we disappear. In Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s “Biutiful” we get a blend of both. Javier Bardem plays Uxbal, a good-natured man dying of cancer that resorts to illegal things to provide for his family. Uxbal lives with his two children in a very run down part of Barcelona and you get a sense early on this is a man who will go to extreme lengths to support his children at any cost. In the midst of taking care of his children Uxbal is in a complete free fall, he has a struggling relationship with his bi-polar wife and they have scenes of extreme frustration when it comes to communication and co-existing with one another. Here is a couple that has a deep love for each other but can’t stand to be in the same room with each other either. This relationship has many layers like any normal relationship has and you connect with them on some level if you have ever had a difficult relationship with someone you love. To make matters worse Uxbal is in cahoots with his boss at work, and his drug dealing associates. He is surrounded by so much noise and clamor that the audience may forget this is a man who is slowly dying piece by piece.
The glue that holds the film together easily goes to Bardem, who was recently nominated for his performance. He easily has the most range and screen presence I have seen in years. Although this movie is very challenging and difficult at times, it is a must see for Bardem’s performance alone.


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