Metascore
58

Mixed or average reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 33
  2. Negative: 3 out of 33
  1. Reviewed by: Kirk Honeycutt
    Dec 30, 2010
    90
    Biutiful has a strong, linear narrative drive. Nevertheless, and most of all, it's a gorgeous, melancholy tone poem about love, fatherhood and guilt.
  2. Reviewed by: Pete Hammond
    Dec 22, 2010
    90
    Biutiful, which gets it name from a child's misspelling of the word, is in itself a beautiful, mesmerizing film and Iñárritu's masterpiece.
  3. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Feb 3, 2011
    88
    Biutiful is strong stuff, it will leave you shaken. There's poetry here, and catastrophe.
  4. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Jan 27, 2011
    88
    Bardem's soulful turn lends this haunting meditation a sense of hope and saves it from the contrived missteps it teeters toward.
  5. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Jan 27, 2011
    80
    It's Bardem's portrayal of his search for those answers that drives Biutiful forward.
  6. Reviewed by: Andrew Male
    Jan 24, 2011
    80
    Iñárritu has made a modern classical tragedy and, in Javier Bardem, he has found his first authentic hero; a character caught up in an intricate web of events he cannot extricate himself from.
  7. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Jan 28, 2011
    78
    As much as Bardem is an expressive instrument for parlaying Iñárritu's somber worldview, so too is cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto, whose stunning compositions find the poetry amid the sorrow.
  8. Reviewed by: Rick Groen
    Feb 11, 2011
    75
    In this vast balloon of a film, Bardem is the ballast – that Manichean face is a movie onto itself.
  9. Reviewed by: Sean O'Connell
    Jan 28, 2011
    75
    Biutiful soars to its highest points once it shifts its focus away from death to ask us how we are choosing to live our lives.
  10. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Jan 27, 2011
    75
    Biutiful exists, at its best and beautifully, in that space that's hard to define, between the outside and the interior, action and thought, body and soul.
  11. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Jan 26, 2011
    75
    Surely few actors have faces that project sorrow more completely than Bardem.
  12. Reviewed by: V.A. Musetto
    Dec 29, 2010
    75
    Set on the seamy side of Barcelona, Biutiful may not be a feel-good movie for this time of year, but it's well worth your time.
  13. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Dec 29, 2010
    75
    Shot hand-held with a poet's eye by Rodrigo Prieto, the film is relentless but as riveting as the world a remarkable actor lets us see through Uxbal's eyes. Bravo, Bardem.
  14. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Dec 29, 2010
    70
    Nothing says "Awards Season" like feel-bad cinema, and with Biutiful, Iñárritu hauls out the big guns. He also, maddeningly, has one hell of a weapon in his star, Javier Bardem.
  15. Reviewed by: Mary Pols
    Dec 25, 2010
    70
    The hardest movies to review are the ones you respect and admire but don't love and also - and this is the crucial part - aren't angered by. Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Biutiful is just that sort of film.
  16. Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    Jan 27, 2011
    67
    Yet another, albeit sparer, Iñárritu gloom-fest.
  17. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Feb 3, 2011
    63
    The saving grace of Biutiful is Bardem.
  18. Reviewed by: Wesley Morris
    Jan 27, 2011
    63
    The movie wails in pain. And it's that sort of grand empathy that makes Iñárritu both impossible to dismiss and impossible to live with.
  19. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Jan 27, 2011
    63
    The movie is unwieldy and overstuffed with subplots - and, at 2 1/2 hours, probably too much misery and sorrow for most viewers.
  20. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Dec 29, 2010
    60
    Here, it's all Bardem, and this great actor's careworn face and sensitive presence counts for a lot. He ultimately can't save the soul of Biutiful, but he makes the journey easier.
  21. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Dec 29, 2010
    60
    Sometimes it seems as if Iñárritu is literally carving out his actor's heart, so tangible does Bardem make Uxbal's fears. Iñárritu has so much that he wants to say - too much, in fact, and the film's central weakness - that he has created an emotional tsunami for both the actors and the audience.
  22. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Dec 29, 2010
    60
    Mr. Bardem, best known to American audiences for his chillingly persuasive embodiment of evil in "No Country for Old Men," combines muscular, charismatic physicality with an almost delicate sensitivity, and this blend of the rough and the tender gives Biutiful a measure of emotional credibility that it may not entirely deserve.
  23. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Jan 27, 2011
    58
    It's a one-note character that Bardem builds into a complex emotional chord, lessening the urge to dismiss Biutiful solely as an endurance test for viewers.
  24. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Feb 4, 2011
    50
    It is raw, it is searing, it is honest.
  25. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Jan 29, 2011
    50
    Iñárritu does the actor no favors by putting him through the existential wringer every step of the way. Uxbal suffers for all our sins.
  26. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Jan 27, 2011
    50
    For many, this central performance will be more than enough. For others, the film will simply be too much.
  27. Reviewed by: Andrea Gronvall
    Jan 27, 2011
    50
    Cinematographer Rodrigo Pietro grounds the ghostly encounters in grainy imagery, his unobtrusive handheld camera and deeply saturated colors best appreciated in a nightclub sequence that looks like something from Hieronymous Bosch.
  28. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Dec 30, 2010
    50
    The safe course is to recommend the film, which seems pitilessly long at 147 minutes, only for the transcendent quality of Javier Bardem's performance.
  29. Reviewed by: Mark Jenkins
    Dec 28, 2010
    50
    However much Uxbal tries to help Barcelona's dispossessed, Biutiful doesn't really have anything to say about the modern world's economic migrants. Indeed, it could even be said that the movie exploits them.
  30. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Dec 28, 2010
    42
    In spite of fine work from Bardem and Álvarez, Biutiful is an irritating, oppressive 150-minute dirge, not the step forward Iñárritu's dissolved partnership with Arriaga seemed to promise.
  31. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Feb 3, 2011
    30
    This forced march through a chamber of personal and sociological horrors is difficult to endure but easy to forget.
  32. Reviewed by: David Fear
    Dec 22, 2010
    20
    We've come to expect diminishing returns from the once-promising Mexican director who then gave the world "Babel," but the combination of wallowing humanistic-cinema overkill and outright ridiculousness he lays out here represents a new low. Biutiful is not a tragedy. It's a straight-up travesty.
  33. Reviewed by: Melissa Anderson
    Dec 28, 2010
    10
    Though its structure may be whittled down in comparison with the earlier works, Biutiful is even more morbidly obese than "Babel" in terms of soggy ideas, elephantine with miserabilist humanism and redemption jibber-jabber.
User Score
7.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 74 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 20
  2. Negative: 2 out of 20
  1. Feb 27, 2011
    5
    The latest from director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu ("Babel") is bleak and tragic. Javier Bardem plays a man in the mean streets of Barcelona who hustles to make money, struggles with his family and deals with his failing health. There's nothing warm or joyful here. Just hard times and dark drama. It's well-made, complex and distressing, but lacking the emotional power to make it involving. Full Review »
  2. Jan 30, 2011
    5
    How can talents such as Iñarritu and Del Toro plus Bardem's breathtaking performance amount to such a painful experience for the viewer. Someone described this as 3 bad movies in 1. I cannot say that much, yet I strongly urge Iñarritu to reflect on what grasped us in Amores Perros or even Babel and make movies for us, not only for his viewing pleasure. Bring on the magic! @cinemaquote Full Review »
  3. Feb 12, 2012
    10
    The film is painful there's no doubt about about that but Inarritu's genius is it's ability to captivate, to grab on and not let go and to make you feel every moment of pain desperation. The cast is flawless, and Bardem is without a doubt, the single greatest actor that Spain has produced . Full Review »