Watched Sep 22, 2012
I was mostly disappointed by Biutiful. Javier Bardem is wonderful in his understated and quiet way he has about him. However, this film is bloated and filled to the brim with self-importance. If this was just about a man dying of cancer and trying to hold his family together during his final months, it would've been wonderful. The subplots with the work he does on the black market and the greater societal issues of Barcelona don’t connect enough to his personal tragedy. I really hated the inclusion of his ability to communicate with the dead, but I can appreciate how it connects to the scenes in the beginning and ending of the film. The final scenes are touching and beautiful, but they felt out of place with the gritty realism the rest of the film is grounded in.
Biutiful is too long, it attempts to tackle way too much, and it's utterly depressing. I didn't enjoy the experience overall, but Bardem's performance was powerful enough to keep me engaged and wanting to see the film to its fitting conclusion.