By Jack Rico
It is a rarity to see films with a central Hispanic lead, specially with one who possesses a strong accent such as Salma Hayek. But somehow, America forgives her (and a select few) and they allow themselves to be treated to the screenwriter’s imagination and the director’s vision of a story. These characteristics and more are in full display in Beatriz at Dinner. Puerto Rican director Miguel Arteta, who made a favorite film of mine, Youth In Revolt, starring Michael Cera, casts Salma Hayek in what will arguably be known as her best performance since her Oscar nomination in 2002’s Frida. This is the type of films Latinos should aspire to be a part of – dark comedies with a melding of Caucasians and Latino sensibilities; those which break from the storytelling of border-crossing or drug cartels. Beatriz at Dinner seems to offer a new paradigm for Latino actors, one which they should be watching with a discerning eye.
Synopsis: Beatriz (Salma Hayek), an immigrant from a poor town in Mexico, has drawn on her innate kindness to build a career as a spiritual health practitioner in Los Angeles. Doug Strutt (John Lithgow) is a cutthroat, self-satisfied billionaire real estate developer. When these two opposites meet at a dinner party, their worlds collide and neither will ever be the same.
Beatriz at Dinner is directed by Miguel Arteta and stars Salma Hayek, John Lithgow, Connie Britton, Jay Duplass, Amy Landecker, Chloë Sevigny, David Warshofsky and John Early. It is a very short film, 77 minutes and will be released June 9, 2017.