A man tries to reconcile his desire to be good with his lawless ways in this dark drama from Mexican auteur Alejandro González Iñárritu. Uxbal (Javier Bardem) is a man with a bright side and a dark side. Uxbal is a caring father who is strong but affectionate toward his two children, Ana (Hanaa Bouchaib) and Mateo (Guillermo Estrella), and he struggles to maintain a healthy relationship with their mother, Marambra (Maricel Álvarez), despite her problems with alcohol and instability. But Uxbal is also a criminal who oversees a small underground empire alongside fellow crime boss Hai (Taisheng Cheng) and Uxbal's impulsive brother, Tito (Eduard Fernández). Uxbal's dealings range from drugs to construction, but unlike his partners in crime, he tries to treat those around him with dignity even as he trades in human misery. Uxbal's precarious world begins to collapse when he's diagnosed with a serious illness and told he has only a few weeks left to live; he tries to put his affairs in order in the time he has left, but realizes that few around him have any sense of responsibility. Biutiful receives its world premiere at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.
by Mark Deming synopsis