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Filmmaker Letter

Filmmaker Letter

Beatriz at Dinner

by director Miguel Arteta

The most frustrating and heartbreaking thing for me about the political maelstrom that has taken over the White House is that we now have a government that insists on making the world more divisive at a time when our world is getting smaller and more fragile. We, more than ever, desperately need to see what we share in common if we want to save the future of our children. The stakes are high and it's time to unite.

Beatriz at Dinner is a film that reflects how frustrating and painful it is to see daily evidence of a more divided world. On one level, it is simply a dinner party story: a casual event that we can all relate to—who hasn't ever been caught sitting down to eat across from someone you can't stand? But it is my hope that the film portrays fairly and honestly the emotional pain we all are feeling in this terrifying cultural climate.

Salma Hayek plays Beatriz, a holistic healer who has become overwhelmed with the realization that most people are not concerned with compassion and finds herself face to face with Doug Strutt, played by John Lithgow, a self-satisfied real estate mogul who believes he has good reasons to take advantage of humanity in every way he can. Things get more awkward and tense and absurd as the night unfolds and Beatriz and Doug expose themselves to each other. We gave these two characters the same strength of conviction and made the best arguments we could find to justify their beliefs. Our intention is to see that even though we all feel we have good reasons for doing what we do, missing each other and not understanding that we're in the same boat is the constant tragedy of our lives.

I believe that all of us, whether we are immigrants or not, have a yearning—something that is missing in our lives—that compels us to remember a time when things were simpler and better. It's like wishing for an impossible time that can never come back. Beatriz at Dinner's main theme for me as its director is that that yearning unites us all more than any differences we have.