Salma Hayek plays Beatriz, a holistic healer and masseuse who seems content with helping others, yet appears to have a deeper passion for nature and the environment. She lives in rural housing with her companions – a mix of domesticated and livestock animals. On the same day she loses one of her goats, her problematic car refuses to start outside the home of a wealthy client. The wealthy client Cathy (Connie Britton) and her husband Grant (David Warshofsky) allow Beatriz to stay and attend their dinner party, while she waits for a tow.
Beatriz is introduced to the first couple when they arrive, Alex (Jay Duplass) and his wife Shannon (Chloe Sevigny). The couple appear intrigued with Beatriz, but are immediately distracted once the hosts return. The second couple arrives, Doug Strutt (John Lithgow) and Jenna (Amy Landecker), and it becomes clear that Beatriz will remain the outsider. Beatriz spends much of her time observing the couples while they interact with one another. She attempts to blend in, but appears to struggle to relate to their conversation topics. Beatriz quietly wanders the house and grounds between interactions, observing and soaking in the lifestyle of her wealthy client and her extravagant choices. During one of their conversations, Beatriz believes she recognizes one of the guests, Douglas Strutt (John Lithgow), but cannot remember from where. It is later revealed that Strutt was to be the guest of honor and is given a moment to boast about his accomplishments. As stories are shared, including one about a rhino hunt, the identity of Strutt becomes clearer to Beatriz …and as to whether this guest may have had a life-altering impact on her.
Director Miguel Arteta (Cedar Rapids, The Good Girl) and writer Mike White (Orange County, The Good Girl, and School of Rock) allow Beatriz time to observe and educate herself on the lifestyles, views, and thoughts of the dinner attendees before she decides to interject her personal concerns.
It is obvious that this film harbors a number of political undertones within its narrative. Issues such as class, race, economic status, environment, and industrial growth are discussed and challenged throughout the course of dinner. The invited guests carry themselves with outspoken hubris and accomplishment, while Beatriz calmly carries herself with conviction and focus.
Beatriz’ eyes become a focal point for this film. She shows a variety of emotion, including fear, respect, resentment, and pride, mostly through her reactions and long gazes. When she is not quietly observing and listening, she is planning and reacting. If her eyes are windows to her soul then Beatriz’ soul is bared and she is clearly in pain. I say look beyond any distaste or differences in any particular class and give this film a view.