Beatriz at Dinner (2017): Miguel Arteta’s Black Comedy, Written by Mike White

Miguel Arteta directed Beatriz at Dinner, a black comedy based on a script by Mike White. The story centers on the unanticipated effects of a holistic medicine practitioner on the guests of a dinner party, to which she is invited when her car breaks down at a wealthy client’s house.

The tale opens with Beatriz (Salma Hayek) rowing a boat in a swamp where she encounters a white goat on the shore. Later on, she takes care of her animals, and heads off to work at a massage center.

She then drives to the house of affluent client Kathy (Connie Britton) for a massage, during which Beatriz tells her that her neighbor had killed one of her goats,

Unable to start the car, she is invited by Kathy to stay for dinner. Kathy’s husband Grant (David Warshofsky) objects as they expect important business people, but he agrees.

The first dinner guests, Shannon (Chloë Sevigny) and Alex (Jay Duplass), discuss how much money they will make off their business venture. Beatriz explores the house, meets them, and awkwardly introduces herself. Then Doug Strutt (John Lithgow) and Jeana (Amy Landecker) arrive, and Kathy introduces Beatriz, explaining that they had met when Beatriz helped her.

Doug mistakes Beatriz for one of the house staff and she shyly introduces herself. She tells Doug she thinks she might know or remember him from somewhere. Doug tells her he’s famous and she could’ve seen him anywhere. Evan (John Early) comes outside to get them for dinner. During dinner, Doug talks about the building of his new business, where Alex warns him of potential protestors. Doug laughs it off. Beatriz begins to talk about her life, how she emigrated from Mexico when she was young.

In the last reel, Beatriz picks up a letter opener and stabs Doug in the throat; however, it proves to be a fantasy. She drops the knife and walks outside, back to the tow truck. She descends over rocks to the beach, walks into the ocean and submerges under water, reawakening in her boat on the mangrove swamp of the film’s opening, revealing that the opening sequence is actually a reference to the final one.

Arteta’s credits include “Cedar Rapids,” “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,” and “Chuck and Buck,” which White also wrote.