Sunday, June 18, 2017

Beatriz at Dinner Review - 3 Stars

Salma Hayek practically floats through "Beatrix at Dinner." Called to the gated Newport Beach estate of Connie Britton, she massages and calms her client late in the day of an important dinner. Her husband has closed a big deal with billionaire developer John Lithgow, and everything must fall into place. Fate intervenes. A cranky Volkswagen refuses to start, and Connie graciously tells Salma to stay for dinner, and even the night if necessary. Salma has a close relationship with the family whose daughter she helped withstand chemo treatment during a nasty cancer. Soon, the guests arrive, and the uncomfortableness begins. Lithgow mistakes Salma for a waitress and orders a drink. Her presence explained, the guests inquire about Salma's profession, while giggling to themselves. She drinks too much wine, and feels comfortable enough to speak her mind on the subject of saving the Earth, over development and big game animal hunting. "Beatrix at Dinner" sounds on the surface like a predictable culture clash. Hayek rises above, taking Beatrix beyond fish out of water, into spirit hovering the Earth. John Lithgow captures the essence of a businessman bully, while subtly implying he may understand Beatrix's world. She's a healer, in a room full of takers. Her insight into her once-beloved client and her world adds comedy & sadness, leading to an ending that shocks, disappoints, satisfies, and stays with you. "Beatrix at Dinner," 3 stars and rated R. Does it deliver what it promises? Culture clash with a jolt. Is it entertaining? Only 83 minutes, and they fly by. Is it worth the price of admission? This reminds me of the kind of jolt, Hollywood used to make in the 1970s. I thought "Beatrix at Dinner" was terrific.