People always say that movies are a means of escape. Whether science fiction or a love story, the dark of a movie theater allows us a respite from the monotony of everyday life, right? If so, then where does Biutiful fit in? Who could call this an escape? Surely there’s drama here, and a kind of kineticism that’s as exciting as it is alarming, but the grief is almost too much to bear; a degree of sprawling sadness no one could ever be thrilled by or even prepared for. There’s little point to telling a story so heartbreaking that we as the audience are taken past our limits, nor is there much to be said for exercises in extremes. No, to justify doling out anguish with such abandon there must be a point. Grasping the purpose of Biutiful is a bit like pulling out a thoroughly-embedded splinter, and in the end, just as satisfying.