Here’s a tip for you. If you turn off Babel because it is too sadtacular to watch a second time, it’s not recommended that you watch another film by the same director (Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu). That’s exactly what I did, and it was tough work.
Uxbal (Javier Bardem) is a single father living in Barcelona, raising his two children, earning money by arranging work for illegal immigrants and suffering from some serious health problems. His ex-wife is an irresponsible, alcoholic masseuse (who gives some men massages at two in the morning – clearly, that kind of masseuse) who comes back into his life against his better judgment.
Biutiful is the type of film that I sometimes have time for, but sometimes not. It is very much a character study, following the actions of a main character as he deals with his life. I felt little connection with Uxbal. Whilst he clearly was suffering from a debilitating illness, he was short with everyone and there was little in him for me to like or respect. To me, this feels like a film that should be loved by many and nominated for awards, but it just didn’t really work for me.
Biutiful was nominated for Oscars for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year and Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Javier Bardem).