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Lauren Enriquez
Mr. Jeffrey
English IV- Period 1
5/12/12

“Sometimes, the poorest man leaves his children the richest inheritance.” - Ruth E. Renkel. Parents are the crutches to a kin’s life. They are a adolescence's everything. There is nothing more important than the impressions that a parent leaves on their kids. Sometimes positive, sometimes negative. We sub-cautiously pick up religious practices, political views, and even actions from the ones that raise us. Nevertheless, the ways parents teach their kids will always have a very effective presence in their lives, even then they’re gone. In Alejandro Iñárritu’s Biutiful, the protagonist faces challenges that require more than just an easy fix. While diagnosed with a life threatening disease, He still struggles to keep his kids in a safe environment, make enough money to live, and attempt to rekindle love. Despite the confusing plot, Biutiful is a must see because of the real life conflict and the relatable characters.

Uxbal, a father who works long hours to just make ends meet, works in the black market selling items from drugs to purses to cheap labor. He also possesses the talent of communicating with the recently deceased. He has two kids, Ana and Mateo, that completely look up to him and think he's the best thing in the world. They still see their mother, Marambra, but don't have the healthy relationship they used to have with her, due to her immaturity and unfitness to be the parent Uxbal wants her to be. After being diagnosed with a life threatening illness, Uxbal panics, but has to play it cool for his children. He moves back in an apartment with Marambra so there will always be someone to watch the kids while he tries to save up as much money as he can. While this is all happening, he tells no one about his illness. Maybe because he didn't want to scare the children? Maybe because he didn't want to face the reality of the time he so desperately was running out of? Whatever the reason, he continues his normal life until he finds out Marambra struck Mateo. “I behaved very badly.” He whimpers. (Iñárritu 01:46:43) At this point, a furious Uxbal is faced with a dilemma, knowing he's going to die but not knowing where his kids are going to go. As this drama unfolds, he also is fixing up his illegal immigrant workers house with new heaters. Within a day, the heaters he purchased killed his workers and Marambra and him end their relationship for good. Resolving both problems in the end, Uxbal helps Ige, one of his illegal workers, move into his old apartment to raise his kids. Uxbal dies with the satisfaction that his kids are in safe hands.

Uxbal is a man of many faces. The face he gives his employees, the face he gives to his family, and the face he gives in the mirror. All different, but the same. “The tension between this director’s methods and his intentions — between his exacting, sometimes amazing craft and his resolutely banal ideas — may ultimately be a problem of audience and genre.” (Scott) Uxbal is the protagonist, while his ways to make money are his antagonist. His job is the middle man, having his asian immigrants make rip off items and sell them to the african american immigrants that work the streets to sell them. He is also paying the police to keep quiet about his business. This is confusing to the plot because you don't know wether he is a good person with bad habits or a bad person with good habits. You want to tell him to make as much money as he can to support the family that is falling apart at the seams, but at the same time, want him to do something more worthy of the prize. Right from the beginning, we have high expectations for the main character to be a well respected, genuine man. He has the right idea, but has the wrong way of going about it. The cop he’s paying off to keep quiet about his business firmly states “Listen Uxbal, We’ve known each other for a while now. But the next time you mess up, you're ####ed.” (00:28:30). It is confusing to the audience that the trust worthy people in this movie, the police and the “good guy” father, are the ones doing the shady things. It takes focus off of the main point of the movie, he obstacles Uxbal has to over come.

Alejandro Iñárritu has a way of making his movies seem lifelike, as if you were right there ready to give Uxbal some advice or the kids some comfort. The factor that draws audiences to this movie is that it isn't made up. These are real problems that don’t only happen on the big screen, but happen every single day. “The scene in which Uxbal finds Mateo alone, abandoned by his mother, with a bruised face, is deeply upsetting, and all the harder to erase because Bardem plays it so calmly, reining in the urge to erupt. Dormant volcanoes, ready to rumble, are always the ones to watch.” (Lane) This scene is one of the more powerful scenes in the story, because it shows the side that ones on the outside of an abusive family things they never get to witness. For the ones that have been in this situation, it’s emotional. For the ones that have never been in this situation, its eye opening. This movie has a lot of scenarios where people can say “that has happened to me before” or “I know what that feels like”, which, in a way, gives the audience a comforting feeling. The constant themes of the hardships of a divorced family, abuse, and facing sickness run throughout the film.
“The kids need me” Marambra begs.
“They can’t wake up to a different dad every weekend.” Uxbal says, bluntly. (00:51:19)
This scene is hard, even for me, to watch because I too have separated parents. Though, It makes me feel as if I am not alone. This movie draws people in because the situations are so real that they can almost imagine themselves being in them.

According to Rosa Lee of HubPages.com, Relatable characters are the most important part of a successful movie. “In the real world, people don’t want to spend time with those they dislike or cannot relate to. The same is true for characters in a story. A story’s main character, the protagonist, may have some bad habits or traits that the reader may not appreciate, but he or she still needs to be relatable. There must be some redeeming quality or like ability to make the reader want to take this journey with the character.”(Lee) No one wants to see a movie where their own lives are far below who their watching, we would rather watch characters that we can relate to and ones that have qualities like our own. Some might say that its interesting to watch what you cant have, dream of perfection. No one is perfect, so why watch a movie that is beyond our reality? It gives us too high expectations for life, and when we don't get what we are searching for, we get disappointed. In Biutiful, the characters are anything but perfect, which makes them tolerable.
“You aren't Mother Theresa!” yelled a cop Uxbal did business with.
“You know what I mean.” he retorted.
“You are the one exploiting them so don’t give me that ####.” (01:16:22)
Of course, they aren’t horrible people, but they do have faults, which causes the audience to accept them more. Once the audience accepts them, they start having a bond with them. Eventually the movie is tugging on your heart strings. When Uxbal accidentally kills the Asian workers, you see him in a panic. We know it isn't his fault, but we feel for him, because he has a big heart. When a movie can emotionally attach you, even for a couple hours, the director is doing something right.



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