I had plans to go to Nantasket Beach with a friend on Saturday, but when we woke up that morning, it was clear Mother Nature had something else in mind. The forecast for the day was for clouds, fog and more fog. We quickly pivoted and embarked on a glorious day of relaxation - brunch at LuLu's in Allston, mani / pedis at MiniLuxe on Harvard Street, followed by a movie at the Coolidge Corner Theatre (a true local gem).
We saw Beatriz at Dinner, which stars Salma Hayek and Connie Britton. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January and is just now making its way to theaters.
In the film, Salma Hayek plays the title character, Beatriz, a holistic healer who treats patients with massage, reiki and breath and light therapy. When we first meet her, she is waking up in the morning to the sound of her pet goat bleating in his pen. As she opens her eyes, we see the goat at the foot of the bed and two dogs lying right next to her. Clearly an animal person! We follow Beatriz to the health center where she works and then up a massive driveway to the home of one of her private massage clients, Cathy, who is played by Connie Britton.
Cathy is the quintessential Southern California housewife - statuesque, ageless and decked head to toe in expensive clothing, shoes and jewelry. After Beatriz finishes the massage, she tries to drive home, but her car won't start. As you may suspect from the movie's title, she winds up staying for dinner.
The dinner Cathy and her husband Grant are hosting is for Grant's colleagues on his latest real estate development project. The wealthy mogul is played by John Lithgow (who I loved in The Crown), and his wife (his third) is played by Amy Landecker of Transparent. It was a Pfefferman family reunion, as actor Jay Duplass was also in the film as another dinner guest, accompanied by his wife, played by Chloe Sevigny.
As the group gathers for dinner, it's clear Beatriz is going to stick out like a sore thumb. Lithgow's character, Doug, mistakes her for a member of the wait staff. In a review by Vanity Fair, the writer describes, "The women are sharp but flighty, self-involved but not garishly so. It’s all very polite-society, with a bit of SoCal tackiness baked in. The men are chummy and self-congratulatory, smoking cigars and talking shop. And then there’s Beatriz, watching in her quiet way, occasionally interjecting with thoughts on past lives and holistic treatment for kidney stones. She’s out of step with the rest, going straight to depth and earnestness when they prefer to glide along the surface."
You would think the chasm between Beatriz's lifestyle and those of the dinner guests who be the primary source of tension, but it's actually Beatriz's demeanor, her approach to the world, that keeps her from getting on the same page with this crowd at any point during the evening.
Without giving anything away, I will say the last fifteen minutes of the film are very intense and a bit depressing. When the credits rolled, my friend and I turned to each other and said, "That's it? I feel so depleted."
The movie clocks in at one hour and twenty three minutes. I would definitely recommend this as a Netflix pick, but I'd save your pennies and skip seeing it in the theater.