Beatriz at Dinner (2017)

Although its political content seems designed as a response to the rise of Trumpism, there’s an unmistakable “1990s indie” vibe to “Beatriz at Dinner.” Recalling 1997’s “The House of Yes,” the movie situates itself as an unbiased observer between two extreme political spaces unfurling over the course of a tense work dinner: On the one hand, there’s Salma Hayek’s titular character, a holistic healer originally from Mexico who prides herself on her limitless empathetic depth, and John Lithgow’s more aggressive Republicanism, which prioritizes the aggrandizement of the self over the collective. It makes for repetitive viewing (i.e. how many times can two people disagree over every issue before it becomes tiresome), but the movie never judges either of its characters (although those paying close attention to detail and minutiae will find where the movie’s thesis is fully realized). In addition, it’s terrifically well-acted by an all-star cast, and while no one is playing a particularly likable character, it’s still an interesting exercise in subtle acting for all involved.

Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)

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