Ok, my head is spinning from Beatrix at Dinner, directed by Miguel Arteta and written by Mike White (School of Rock! The Good Girl!).
And by heads spin, I mean spinning in both positive and negative rotations.
The positive: Salma Hayek is dynamite, in fact, the entire ensemble was absolute perfection:females: Britton, Landecker, Sevigny; males: Lithgow (extra star!), Warshovsky (where’d you come from? you’re excellent!) and Duplass (the perfect d-bag).
Another positive: the story by Mike White nails class differences and the subsequent uncomfortable moments when classes mix. I understand that now more than ever living in Sarasota. In my previous life (Rochester and Bloomfield, NY), my position of teacher was for the most part upper middle class. I didn’t even see or really understand those below me. Sure, certainly I saw the dichotomy of classes in Bloomfield, we had everyone from equestrian aristocrats to mobile home multiple job occupants. And for the most part, everyone there accepted and could associate without awkwardness, which is a tremendous testament to how special Bloomfield really is.
And Sarasota is pretty special, too, in that I see people being really civil to each other. With rare exception, the wealthy people I know here are super nice. The difference is though that many of the wealthy people I know don’t really understand (or perhaps are simply ignoring or self-centered) the plight of those below them. Some of the folks I work with far wealthier than me with double incomes will agonize and pontificate about how few garments they’re allowed on an African safari, for one example, yet never turn the spotlight back to you about how your coping making ends meet with your pre-pension two job salary. They never get to hear me whine back about my intimidation with requesting air conditioning maintenance (it’s not working) because I am hoping my (wealthy) landlord will renew my lease at the same rent for one more year.
Having said all that, Beatrix at Dinner dares to cross these waters with great success.
The only negatives of the film were: the slow start, again, editing issue (as with The Lovers) and second, just a few loose ends with connecting the dots between real and metaphorical.
Beyond those tiny problems, Beatrix at Dinner should garner Salma an Academy Award Best Actress nomination, and even Lithgow for Best Supporting. Go see it!