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Theatrical release poster
Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu
Produced by Alejandro González Iñárritu
Jon Kilik
Fernando Bovaira
Ann Ruark
Sandra Hermida
Written by Alejandro González Iñárritu
Armando Bó, Jr
Nicolás Giacobone
Starring Javier Bardem
Maricel Álvarez
Hanaa Bouchaib
Guillermo Estrella
Diaryatou Daff
Cheng Tai Shen
Nasser Saleh
Music by Gustavo Santaolalla
Cinematography Rodrigo Prieto
Edited by Stephen Mirrione
Distributed by LD Entertainment
Roadside Attractions (US)
Release dates
  • 17 May 2010 (2010-05-17) (Cannes)
  • 22 October 2010 (2010-10-22) (Mexico)
  • 3 December 2010 (2010-12-03) (Spain)
Running time
147 minutes[1]
Country Mexico
Language Spanish
Box office $25,147,796[2]

Biutiful is a 2010 Mexican-Spanish drama film directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu and starring Javier Bardem. It is González Iñárritu's first feature since Babel and fourth overall, and his first film in his native Spanish language since his debut feature Amores perros. The title Biutiful refers to the phonological spelling in Spanish of the English word beautiful.

The film was nominated for two Academy Awards in 2011: Best Foreign Language Film and Best Actor for Javier Bardem. Bardem's nomination makes his performance the first entirely Spanish-language performance to be nominated for that award. Bardem also received the Best Actor Award at Cannes for his work on the film.


Uxbal lives in a shabby apartment in Barcelona with his two young children, Ana and Mateo. He is separated from their mother Marambra, a woman suffering from alcoholism and bipolar disorder. Having grown up an orphan, Uxbal has no family other than his brother Tito, who works in the construction business. Uxbal earns a living by procuring work for illegal immigrants and managing a group of Chinese women producing forged designer goods along with the African street vendors who are selling them. He is able to talk to the dead and is sometimes paid to pass on messages from the recently deceased at wakes and funerals. When he is diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer leaving him with only a few months to live, his world progressively falls apart.

Uxbal initially begins chemotherapy, but he later ends the treatment at the advice of his friend and traditional healer Bea. She also gives him two black stones which she asks him to give his children before he dies. The group of Africans are brutally arrested by the police despite Uxbal's regular bribes because of their involvement with drugs. When his friend Ekweme faces deportation to Senegal, Uxbal offers Ekweme's wife Ige and their baby son a room in his apartment. Meanwhile, an attempt at reconciliation with Marambra fails when Uxbal realizes she cannot be trusted to raise his children. Tito brokers a deal to put the Chinese to work at a construction site. However, almost all of them die while asleep in the basement of their sweatshop due to malfunctioning gas heaters installed by Uxbal. An attempt by a human trafficker to dump the bodies into the sea fails when they are washed up on the shore shortly after.

As Uxbal's health continues to deteriorate, he is plagued with guilt that he is responsible for the death of the immigrants. As his death draws nearer, he realizes that there will be nobody to take care of Ana and Mateo once he is gone. He entrusts the remainder of his savings to Ige, asking her to stay with the children after his death. She accepts his request but later decides to use the money to pay for her return to Africa. She changes her mind at the last minute, however, and returns to the apartment. Knowing that Ige will take care of his children, Uxbal lies down next to Ana and dies after having passed on to her a diamond ring which his father had once given to his mother. He is then reunited in a snowy winter landscape with his father, who had died before Uxbal's birth shortly after having fled Spain for Mexico during the Franco regime.


  • Javier Bardem as Uxbal
  • Maricel Álvarez as Marambra
  • Hanaa Bouchaib as Ana
  • Guillermo Estrella as Mateo
  • Diaryatou Daff as Ige
  • Taishen Cheng as Hai
  • Nasser Saleh as Muchacho


Biutiful took three and a half years to make, since the beginning of the writing process. It was shot between October 2008 and February 2009 in Barcelona, Spain. It was a Mexican and Spanish co-production. The film was shot in chronological order by scenes.


Critical reception[edit]

Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes reports 64% of critics featured on the site gave a positive review of the film at an average rating of 6.4/10 based on 143 reviews. Kirk Honeycutt of the Hollywood Reporter calls the film, "a gorgeous melancholy tone poem about love, fatherhood and guilt", and describes Bardem’s performance as "...a knockout. "[3] Betsy Sharkey of the LA Times wrote, "Bardem gives a performance of staggering depth, unquestionably one of the year’s best. " [4] A. O. Scott from the New York Times writes, " Mr. Iñárritu creates a feeling of raw, sprawling intimacy…every shot is full of emotional and social detail. " [5] Roger Ebert wrote "What drew me into the film and engaged my sympathy was the presence of Bardem...a vastly human actor. " [6] Steve Pond of The Wrap writes Bardem’s performance is a "towering achievement". The film has been overwhelmingly well received in many countries including France and the UK. Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian writes, "The fluency and confidence of Inarritu's cinematic language are really spectacular. It may not convert, or convince, but it is certainly arresting: not magic realism exactly, but rather the director's very own brand of magic naturalism".

Critical praise was not universal. At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film has so far received an average score of 58, translating to "mixed or average reviews."[7] Some dismissed the story as too bleak; Justin Chang of Variety wrote Iñárritu is "...stuck in a grim rut."[8] described it as " of the finest films you’ll never, ever want to see again."[9]

Filmmakers Sean Penn, Werner Herzog and Michael Mann have been very outspoken in their acclaim for the film. Herzog likened it to a "poem" and Penn compared Bardem’s performance to that of Marlon Brando’s in Last Tango in Paris. Julia Roberts has also been very supportive.[citation needed]

Box office[edit]

Biutiful grossed $5,101,237 in the domestic box office and $20,046,549 overseas for a worldwide total of $25,147,786.[2]


Cast and crew at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.

The film competed for the Palme d'Or at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. It premiered at Cannes on 17 May 2010,[10] with Bardem winning for Best Actor, an award shared with Elio Germano for La Nostra Vita.[11] On 17 December 2010, the film was named Best Foreign Language Film of 2010 at the 17th Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Awards.[12][13]

On 25 January 2011, the film was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards while Javier Bardem received a nomination for Best Actor.[14] The film is also nominated for the 64th British Academy Film Awards for Best Film not in the English Language, while Javier Bardem was nominated for Best Actor. Biutiful received eight nominations for the 25th Goya Awards; Best Actor for Javier Bardem, Best Supporting Actor for Eduard Fernández, Best Supporting Actress for Ana Wagener, Best Original Screenplay for Alejandro González Iñárritu, Armando Bó and Nicolás Giacobone, Best Cinematography for Rodrigo Prieto, Best Editing for Stephen Mirrione, Best Art Direction for Brigitte Broch and Best Original Score for Gustavo Santaolalla.

The film was also nominated at the 16th Critics' Choice Award for Best Foreign Language Film and the 68th Golden Globe Awards for Best Foreign Film, but lost to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and In a Better World, respectively.

Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result
Academy Awards[14] 27 February 2011 Best Actor Javier Bardem Nominated
Best Foreign Language Film Mexico Nominated
British Academy Film Awards[15] 13 February 2011 Best Leading Actor Javier Bardem Nominated
Best Foreign Language Film Nominated
Goya Awards Best Actor Javier Bardem Won
Best Supporting Actor Eduard Fernández Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Ana Wagener Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Alejandro González Iñárritu, Armando Bó and Nicolás Giacobone Nominated
Best Cinematography Rodrigo Prieto Nominated
Best Editing Stephen Mirrione Nominated
Best Art Direction Brigitte Broch Nominated
Best Original Score Gustavo Santaolalla Nominated
Denver Film Critics Society 28 January 2011 Best Foreign Language Film Nominated
Golden Globe Awards[16] 16 January 2011 Best Foreign Language Film Nominated
Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards[17] 28 December 2010 Best Foreign Language Film Won
Utah Film Critics Association Awards 23 December 2010 Best Foreign Language Film Nominated
Chicago Film Critics Association Awards[18] 20 December 2010 Best Foreign Language Film Nominated
St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Awards Best Actor Javier Bardem Nominated
Best Foreign Language Film Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Alejandro González Iñárritu, Armando Bo and Nicolás Giacobone Nominated
Satellite Awards[19] 19 December 2010 Best Actor Javier Bardem Nominated
Best Foreign Language Film Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Alejandro González Iñárritu, Armando Bo and Nicolás Giacobone Nominated
Houston Film Critics Society Awards 18 December 2010 Best Foreign Language Film Nominated
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Awards[12] 17 December 2010 Best Foreign Language Film Won
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards[20] 16 December 2010 Best Foreign Language Film Nominated
San Diego Film Critics Society Awards[21] 14 December 2010 Best Foreign Language Film Nominated
Critics' Choice Award Best Foreign Language Film Nominated
Southeastern Film Critics Association Awards 13 December 2010 Best Foreign Language Film Nominated
Indiana Film Critics Association 12 December 2010 Best Foreign Language Film Nominated
Washington D. C. Area Film Critics Association Awards[22] 6 December 2010 Best Foreign Language Film Won
Cannes Film Festival 23 May 2010 Best Actor Javier Bardem Won
Palme d'Or Nominated

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "BIUTIFUL (15)". British Board of Film Classification. 2010-10-19. Retrieved 2013-05-15. 
  2. ^ a b "Biutiful (2010) - International Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. 2 January 2011. Retrieved 26 January 2011. 
  3. ^ Honeycutt, Kirk (14 October 2010). "Biutiful -- Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  4. ^ Sharkey, Betsy; Critic, Film (29 December 2010). "Movie review: 'Biutiful'". Los Angeles Times. 
  5. ^ Scott, A. O. (28 December 2010). "Javier Bardem in Alejandro González Iñárritu's ‘Biutiful'". The New York Times. 
  6. ^ "Biutiful". Chicago Sun-Times. 
  7. ^ "Biutiful Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More". Metacritic. Retrieved 2012-12-26. 
  8. ^ Chang, Justin (17 May 2010). "Biutiful". Variety. 
  9. ^ 12 Films You'll Never Watch Again. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  10. ^ Leffler, Rebecca (15 April 2010). "Hollywood Reporter: Cannes Lineup". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 26 January 2011. 
  11. ^ "Thai film captures Cannes top prize". CBC News. 23 May 2010. Retrieved 26 January 2011. 
  12. ^ a b Wilonsky, Robert (17 December 2010). "DFW Film Crix, Very Social at Year's End". Unfair Park (Dallas Observer). Retrieved 17 December 2010. 
  13. ^ Kelly, Christopher (17 December 2010). "Dallas-Fort Worth critics 'like' 'Social Network': DFW critics join the chorus of praise for 'Social Network, ' naming it the year's best.". (Fort Worth Star-Telegram). Retrieved 23 December 2010. 
  14. ^ a b "Nominees for the 83rd Academy Awards". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 26 January 2011. 
  15. ^ "Past Winners and Nominees - Film". British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Retrieved 26 January 2011. 
  16. ^ "Nominations and Winners - 2010". Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Retrieved 26 January 2011. 
  17. ^ "Phoenix Film Critics Name THE KINGS SPEECH Best Film of 2010". Phoenix Film Critics Society. Retrieved 26 January 2011. 
  18. ^ "Chicago Film Critics Awards - 2008-2010". Chicago Film Critics Association. Retrieved 26 January 2010. 
  19. ^ "2010 Nominations" (PDF). International Press Academy. Retrieved 26 January 2011. 
  20. ^ Adams, Ryan (16 December 2010). "The Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards". AwardsDaily. Retrieved 26 January 2011. 
  21. ^ "2010 Awards". San Diego Film Critics Society. Retrieved 26 January 2011. 
  22. ^ "The 2010 WAFCA Award Winners". Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association. Retrieved 26 January 2011. 

External links[edit]

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