Beatriz At Dinner

She was invited, but she's not welcome.

What begins as a sharply funny comedy of class conflict turns more political, and even poetic, in Beatriz At Dinner. Amiably entertaining, the film’s underlying progressive political message gives it extra resonance in the Trump era.

Poster for the dinner-party drama Beatriz At DinnerSalma Hayek stars as the deeply sensitive Beatriz, a L.A. masseuse and holistic therapist who has dedicated her life to healing. On a routine massage appointment with a super-wealthy client, Beatriz’s car breaks down. Rather than get a tow truck, Beatriz is invited to stick around for a dinner party at the family’s ostentatious mansion. And so begins an extremely awkward evening, with the earthy, spiritual Mexican immigrant Beatriz struggling to find her way amidst three unbelievably rich white couples.

Wearing jeans and her hair in a ponytail, Beatriz looks like she comes from another planet next to the more affluent guests – with the ladies (Connie Britton, Chloë Sevigny, Amy Landecker) decked out in flowing gowns and high heels and the men (David Warshofsky, Jay Duplass, John Lithgow) dressed in slick suits. In a witty visual highlight of their differences, Hayek has never looked shorter; everyone towers over her, particularly Lithgow’s Trump-like real-estate tycoon Doug Strutt.

But despite Beatriz’s big innocent eyes and meek, self-effacing appearance, she increasingly interjects herself into the evening’s proceedings, interrupting their superficial banter with her own reflections.

As the evening goes on and the drinks continue to flow, Beatriz’s politeness is tested. When Doug brags about his big-game hunting and shares a picture of a rhinoceros he killed on safari, Beatriz loses her cool, setting in motion the film’s surprising conclusion.

– Anthony Kaufman, Screen International