Biutiful is about a great performance by Javier Bardem in a grim, grim, really grim role.  (Yes, this film is grimmer than Bardem’s The Sea Inside, in which he plays a suicidal paraplegic.)  In this film, Bardem plays Uxbal, a Barcelona lowlife who lives by perpetrating various petty scams.  Low level crime does not pay well, and he lives in poverty with his kids, who he cannot trust with his bipolar, alcoholic wife (who is sleeping with his brother).  Then he receives a medical death sentence – only two months to live.  And then, things get even worse!

Can he leave his kids with a stable life?  Can he find some redemption?  It’s a compelling portrait of a desperate man in desperate circumstance, directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Amores perros, 21 Grams, Babel).

Has anyone has five better performances in the past decade than Bardem in The Dancer Upstairs, The Sea Inside, No Country for Old Men, Vicky Christina Barcelona and Biutiful?   Bardem won Best Actor at Cannes for Biutiful.

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