Box art for Biutiful

Biutiful

drama, foreign


Javier Bardem stars in this unflinching, heartfelt story from the director of AMORES PERROS and BABEL.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
    65%
  • Audience Score
    75%

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 17
Consumerism
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
4 out of 5
Language
4 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
Positive role models
1 out of 5
Sex
4 out of 5
Violence
4 out of 5

Heavy-handed grown-up drama has lots of mature content.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this mature drama from Oscar-nominated director Alejandro Gonzlez Irritu (Babel) is a heavy, lengthy movie filled with adult themes -- including crime, death, disease, adultery, sex, and drugs. There are many violent, scary, and disturbing images, the worst of which is a warehouse full of dead bodies killed by a malfunctioning gas heater. Very strong language includes dozens of uses of "f--k" and "s--t." There's also female nudity and sex, and characters both drink and snort cocaine. Many characters also smoke, including teens (an even younger character is said to be smoking, though vifewers don't see this). Overall the mood is very downbeat, but there are a few moments of hope and inspiration.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the movie's use of sex and violent images. How do these things change the tone of the movie? Do they make Uxbal's story more intense? More downbeat?
  • Is Uxbal a good person? Do you like this character? What are some of the good things he does over the course of the movie? What about the bad things? How do they compare? Would you call him a role model?
  • In one scene, characters discuss how a young boy has smoked cigarettes. Is there a penalty for his actions? What about for the other characters who smoke? Does smoking look enticing in this movie, or is it a turn-off?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    65%
    reviews counted: 23
    see all Biutiful reviews
  • Audience

    75%

Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: Javier Bardem cuts a tragic figure as a dying Barcelona lowlife who traffics in illegal immigrants and communes with the dead.

- Andrea Gronvall, Chicago Reader, Friday, January 28, 2011

Fresh: The movie's mood might well have proved unendurable were it not for the proud and sympathetic presence of Bardem.

- Anthony Lane, New Yorker, Monday, January 31, 2011

Fresh: Bardem's performance makes it not just bearable but rich and compelling.

- Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic, Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Audience Reviews

4 stars

After discovering that he is dying of cancer, a father and smuggler tries to "put his affairs in order." Javier Bardem can do anything. He chilled in No Country for Old Men, he made us laugh in Vicki Christina Barcelona, and his dramatic work in The Dancer Upstairs and The Sea Inside enthralls. And now he brings us Uxbal, a soulful, damaged father who is hard to classify. His profession as a smuggler of illegal immigrants who are essentially slave labor makes him "bad," but when he buys them heaters and frets over the best care for his children, he immediately earns our sympathy. Bardem plays all the nuances. He can scare as readily as he can inspire tears. His work in this film is beyond compare, and if I had seen this film in 2011, I might have changed my Oscar vote (not that I have a vote). Writer/director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu mines familiar territory, and anyone who has seen 21 Grams won't be surprised to see themes of faith, spirituality, and fate explored in this film. But the universality of these themes and Inarritu's deftness as a filmmaker make Biutiful seem fresh, more original than his other films. Uxbal seems to have the ability to speak to the dead, and people occasionally perch from the ceiling, which I think is Inarritu's way of showing their souls watching the characters. With all the good filmmaking in Biutiful, the wonderfully human story of a father making sure his kids are well-cared-for after his death, I don't think the film needs this element - the speaker for the dead subplots - in order to be successful. Overall, Biutiful is indeed beautiful, made more so by one of the master actors of our time.

- hunterjt13, Saturday, October 13, 2012

4 stars

After discovering that he is dying of cancer, a father and smuggler tries to "put his affairs in order." Javier Bardem can do anything. He chilled in No Country for Old Men, he made us laugh in Vicki Christina Barcelona, and his dramatic work in The Dancer Upstairs and The Sea Inside enthralls. And now he brings us Uxbal, a soulful, damaged father who is hard to classify. His profession as a smuggler of illegal immigrants who are essentially slave labor makes him "bad," but when he buys them heaters and frets over the best care for his children, he immediately earns our sympathy. Bardem plays all the nuances. He can scare as readily as he can inspire tears. His work in this film is beyond compare, and if I had seen this film in 2011, I might have changed my Oscar vote (not that I have a vote). Writer/director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu mines familiar territory, and anyone who has seen 21 Grams won't be surprised to see themes of faith, spirituality, and fate explored in this film. But the universality of these themes and Inarritu's deftness as a filmmaker make Biutiful seem fresh, more original than his other films. Uxbal seems to have the ability to speak to the dead, and people occasionally perch from the ceiling, which I think is Inarritu's way of showing their souls watching the characters. With all the good filmmaking in Biutiful, the wonderfully human story of a father making sure his kids are well-cared-for after his death, I don't think the film needs this element - the speaker for the dead subplots - in order to be successful. Overall, Biutiful is indeed beautiful, made more so by one of the master actors of our time.

- hunterjt13, Saturday, October 13, 2012

3 stars

Too sad and depressing, this solid drama attempts to create an unbearable sensation of tragedy that does not always feel genuine. Even so, it benefits from a strong performance by Bardem, who is able to inject some complexity to his character despite the rather artificial plot.

- blacksheepboy, Friday, February 24, 2012