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BEATRIZ AT DINNER

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BEATRIZ AT DINNER
* * ½
(Mean-spirited
culture clash)

What starts out as an interesting premise quickly turns into a mean-spirited culture clash in this dark melodrama that takes place in a plush home in a California gated community.
Beatriz (Selma Hayek), a Hispanic hand masseuse, visits Cathy (Connie Britton) for her scheduled massage. Her car dies and Cathy invites her to join her small dinner party while she waits for a ride. The invited two couples are business partners of her husband and engage in conversation about their shady business deals, much to the displeasure of the idealistic, compassionate Beatriz.
John Lithgow plays the egotistical, opinionated billionaire who revels in his real estate deals, which displace both low-income families and flora and fauna. After a few glasses of wine, Beatriz gains the courage to verbally challenge him, a game that he enjoys playing as he attempts to put her down and make fun of her.
The situation gets very tense as the conversation grows mean and ugly. The movie has been billed as a dark comedy, but we found very little to laugh about as insults were flung back and forth and the movie reaches an ugly and sad conclusion.
The concept of the poor immigrant who loves her new country and the wealthy, vicious businessman who exploits it is handled well in conversation, but actions do speak louder than words and the writers go for a rather unpleasant ending to make their point.
Rated R because of profanity and one violent scene.

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