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.
Tag Archives: Javier Bardem
I never read Eat Pray Love. It never seemed like a book written for me. Vaguely, my understanding of the novel was as one written by a woman and for women. A self-help memoir for the divorced. Now that I’ve seen the book’s celluloid abridgement my notions have been, to an extent altered. Not entirely, for this is still a story about mending a broken heart and Elizabeth Gilbert (Julia Roberts) surely begins that process with the old standby of eating mass quantities of food. But to say my vague awareness of this incredibly popular book was on point would discount the deeper ideas present in this story. Gilbert (with help from director and screenwriter Ryan Murphy) isn’t just moaning about her losses. She’s giving an account of an adventure she had; a journey to the center of her soul. It’s not perfect, with moments of cloying joy that don’t feel real enough, but it’s all true, and it represents a search as eternal as any. Whether recently divorced or recently preadolescent, we are all of us looking for our place in the world, and we are all of us praying that it will bring with it some love.