We meet our melancholy protagonist Uxbal caught in the underbelly of the dark side of Barcelona.
Uxbal is flawed. He is a loving father who keeps his family afloat from his bipolar wife. He makes ends meet by brokering deals with the police by letting undocumented African peddlers sell their goods on the streets of modern Barcelona. Furthermore, he is also the go between the Africans and the manufracturing Chinese.
Uxbal's family is in disarray. His older brother agree to terms in selling of his father's burial spot. An immigrant himself, his father left Spain to Mexico in search of work only to die from a disease. As never meeting his father, he views his father's corpse only to learn that his father die without any regrets. Uxbal's spirituality as he guides past souls to the other world plays out in an early scene. Three school age children are in a terrible accident. The father of one asks Uxbal to speak to his son or to find out if he pass to the other world. For others, Uxbal is fake preying on greiving families only having the truth revealed to us, the audience. Uxbal's older brother is far the father figure one could want or had.
The fantastical part of the story is portrayed as humanly as possible through the spiritual eyes of Uxbal. It is not grim nor utopian, but flawed like the speeling of it's title Buitiful.
Each scene is comparable to a poetic line. Reavealing little by little the poem the love and guilt of our doomed protagonist. Early on the film we learn of Uxbal's fate. Diagnose with cancer and only having a few months to live is just the begining of sympathetic interaction with the acting of Bardem. He draws us in. He hides his money in a pair of soccer socks of his club, Espanyol. As brief as the scene plays out the attention to detail is grand. Espanyol is foreever the little brother to the giant Barcelona club the more flamboyant team. Uxbal and his older brother play into the similar role.
Uxbal is foreever the flawed underdog.
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