Quite Possibly One of the Best Films Ever Made
"Biutiful" is arguably the greatest foreign film that I've ever had the honor of seeing. Not only is the story thought provokingly deep, but it's arguably one of greatest films ever made. The film lightly touches on the concept of life and death. What would happen if we knew we were dying, then what would we do? What would happen to our children that were still so young? Would they end up forgetting about us long after we're dead? Or would they even be able to survive without us? Indeed, dying is never an easy thing to accept, nor is it easy to take care of any unfinished business beforehand, so our loved ones can be taken care of. After all, if life has ever shown us anything, it's that things seldom go according to plan perfectly. What would you do if this were happening to you? What would any of us do for that matter? But most of all, how would any us be able to tell our children that we may not be long for this world?
These are not easy questions to answer, but they're ones that some of us are forced to answer anyway, in life. After all, people die everyday, and seldom few ever expect it. Enter the world of "Biutiful." "Biutiful" is the story of a man in free fall. A man seeking a noble road to redemption in his life, even though that same path he seeks is shrouded in darkness and despair. Carrying a deep connection with the afterlife, Uxbal (Javier Bardem) is a hero and father of two children, who's senses the dangers of death when he finds out that he has cancer. Like many of us in life, he struggles to deal with a tainted reality, and a fate that inconceivably works against him at every turn.
Uxbal is a fairly modest man that tries to get by in life, and he loves his children very much. Unfortunately, he's forced to make a living by acting as a middleman for an industry that mass produces fake luxury items, then sells them off to tourists via street vendors. Sure, there's his other job acting as a professional psychic, but the bulk of his funds come from his work exploiting Chinese and African labor in sweat shops. It's hardly a noble career field to be into but deep down, he's really a good man. Sure, he'll even admit he's had a hand in activities that he's not proud of, but he's always had good intentions. To say that Uxbal's life is a wreck would be a tragic understatement.
He's been separated from his wife, who's not only bipolar, she's also works as a prostitute on the side. To make matters worse, he receives daily pressure from his criminal associates; along with being responsible for the well being of the illegal immigrants his associates exploit. Sure, he tries to take care of the immigrants as best as he can, with little gestures like convincing his colleagues to invest in a heater for them, so they can keep warm. The only problem is that the heater he buys for them malfunctions, then kills almost all the Chinese laborers while they're sleeping; which doesn't exactly help him from staying out of legal troubles.
Of course, all this pales in comparison to Uxbal's real problem...he's dying. After finding out that he's been diagnosed with cancer, with only a couple of months to live, he tries to mend his affairs in order. Sadly, as I stated earlier, things seldom ever go according to plan. As it seems, Uxbal's wife is incapable of being a good mother, due to her bipolar condition and drug addiction problems as well. Therefore, what will happen to Uxbal's kids when he dies? Unfortunately, for our main protagonist, it seems bad luck hits him around every corner, as the clock keeps ticking away. Will he be able to find someone to take care of his children when he dies, while fixing his financial and legal problems beforehand? Or will it be too little...too late?
Such intriguing questions are raised throughout the film, as it will not only grab the audiences attention, but it will literally take them on a emotional thrill ride full of twists and wonders. Unlike most movie characters with a larger than life personality, Uxbal is pretty well grounded in reality, who ultimately just wants to do the right thing. Sure, he's often forced into some bad situations where he has to overlook the law, but he's a good man that really just wants to make sure his kids are taken care of. In the end...isn't that what we all want in life? To make sure our kids are taken care of in the case of our deaths? All I can say is, I think that's a universal concept we can all relate to in life.
As for this year's Academy nominee, Javier Bardem, what can I say about him? He gives possibly one of the best performances that I've ever seen in a film before. Sure, I would have loved to have seen Leonardo DiCaprio not only get nominated, but win for his powerful performance in "Shutter Island." However, I think Javier Bardem's performance was every bit as powerful; which is why I'll be rooting for him to win it this year. Although I doubt he has much of a chance to pull off the upset but then again, I've been wrong before. Truly a must see film for those true movie fans out there.
Overall, I would have to give this film a perfect four out of four. Sure, the story may be a bit sad for some people to handle, but it's definitely one of the most emotionally heartfelt films of last year. Not only will it touch the heart of it's audience, it'll leave a deep imprint on their minds as well. "Biutiful" is definitely, as the title suggest, a beautiful movie to see for anyone to enjoy.