I’ve heard of horse races in which the lead horse falls in the stretch, but not one where the jockey turns the horse around and goes in the opposite direction, when victory is a few strides away.
But, that’s what Director Miguel Arteta (the jockey) has done with Writer Mike White’s (the horse) script in Beatriz at Dinner. Or, in this case, perhaps the horse had a mind of its own.
Beatriz (Salma Hayek) is a holistic masseuse, whose car breaks down after treating Cathy (Connie Britton) at her mansion in an L.A. gated community. Having been responsible for nursing Cathy’s daughter, who had early-age cancer, Cathy invites Beatriz to stay for dinner while she waits for someone to come fix her car.
Cathy and her husband (David Warshovsky) are hosting a party for his billionaire client (John Lithgow), his lawyer (Jay Duplass) and their wives (Amy Landecker and Chloё Sevigny).
Beatriz is a polar opposite in status to everyone and in ethic, especially to the men.
She begins to speak her mind to the embarrassment of her hosts and the film sets up expectations for an epic battle. But, then, the horse turns around and starts to run in the opposite direction.
Instead of standing by her principles, Beatriz drinks too much, gets high, fantasizes about killing the Trumpian billionaire and, instead, deep-sixes herself in the Pacific.
Well, the performances, especially Hayek’s, are excellent. But this juvenile turnabout earns Beatriz at Dinner only a 3.1 out of 5. And, that’s being kind.