Salma Hayek Commandeers Beatriz at Dinner’s Nimble Class Comedy

Salma Hayek Commandeers Beatriz at Dinner’s Nimble Class Comedy

Wednesday, June 14, 2017 at 8 a.m.


Hayek’s Beatriz makes it all all awkward

Lacey Terrell/Roadside Attractions

A film often smartly attuned to language, Beatriz at Dinner — a sober comedy about class clash and soft-to-hard racism directed by Miguel Arteta and written by Mike White — operates in several different idioms. English and Spanish (sometimes unsubtitled) are spoken, as are the lexicons of healing and affluence specific to Southern California, which here are just as often dissonant with each other as they are consonant.

The first 10 or so minutes of this fleet, dialogue- and dialectic-heavy film, though, are mostly wordless, tracing the routine of Beatriz (Salma Hayek), a self-described health therapist who lives in Altadena with no humans but plenty of animals and religious symbols. Her menagerie includes dogs and goats; her syncretic faith, Buddha and the Virgin Mary. She works primarily in a cancer center, tending to the ill through massage. Beatriz also has private clients, including Kathy (Connie Britton), a Newport Beach matron who has requested an at-home rubdown before a business-related dinner party she and her husband, Grant (David Warshofsky), are hosting. After the session, the healer’s car won’t start, and Kathy insists she join their six-person supper.

“She’s not a housekeeper or anything — she’s a friend of the family,” Kathy pleads to Grant, who is reluctant to let khaki-clad Beatriz sit at the table with their soigné associates. That’s one of several blistering lines in Arteta’s film, efficiently…

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