Animal cruelty is a major theme in “Beatriz at Dinner,” which stars Salma Hayek as a natural healer who ends up at a dinner with a high-powered real-estate developer.
[PLOT SPOILERS BELOW]
Salma plays Beatriz, whom we first meet tending to her pet goat and dogs. She later tells her wealthy client Cathy (Connie Britton) that her other goat was just killed by one of her neighbors who complained about the noises the goats made. (We briefly see glimpses of the dead goat from a distance.)
When Beatriz’s car breaks down, Cathy impulsively invites her to the dinner party she’s holding that night, leading to a heated conflict between the empathetic Beatriz and the Trump-like guest of honor.
As dinner commences, Beatriz thanks her host and the other guests and shares a story about how she knew she wanted to be a healer as a child: Her father wanted her to kill an octopus and she refused, saying she could feel its pain. The story is met with awkward glances by the other guests.
Beatriz (and the audience) slowly realize guest of honor Doug Strutt (John Lithgow), is an unscrupulous real estate developer who’s just closed a huge deal on land with a protected species.
When Strutt boasts about shooting a rhino while on safari — and brings out his phone to show the photo of him with the dead animal — Beatriz, still grieving her murdered goat, loses it, asking, “Are you for real?!” and throws his phone at him.
To everyone’s discomfort, Beatriz calls Strutt out on his rapacious ways, but Strutt (who originally mistook her for a maid), is unrepentant.
Read my full review at Forces of Geek.