'Beatriz at Dinner' seen as tale for the Trump era

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A dinner party turns into a debate on humanity, racism and empathy in the film “Beatriz at Dinner,” which despite being written two years ago is being hailed as a must-see film in the Trump era.

Mexican-American actress Salma Hayek plays a Los Angeles holistic healer who ends up by chance attending a dinner party at the home of her wealthy clients. Tension ensues as her character, Beatriz, goes head to head with Doug, played by John Lithgow, a self-satisfied billionaire real estate developer with whom she has nothing in common.

Hayek said Beatriz is the most like herself than any role she has ever played.

“It’s really weird because it was written before this political climate and ... you read it and then you start living your life or watching the news and you can’t stop thinking about - you keep going back to Beatriz,” Hayak said.

Shooting on the movie started before the November 2016 election of President Donald Trump, who wants to build a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico to stop illegal immigration and to crack down on people from some predominantly Muslim nations entering the United States.

Variety film critic Owen Gleiberman said the film “has the distinction of being the first dramatic comedy that’s an explicit - and provocative - allegory of the Age of Trump.”

Connie Britton, who plays one of Beatriz’s wealthy clients, said she hoped the film would elicit a wider dialogue among audiences.

“You can really come away ... realizing that all of the trends that brought us to where we are now have actually been going on for some time,” Britton said.

“Beatriz at Dinner” will be released in U.S. theatres on Friday.

Reporting by Reuters Television; Editing by James Dalgleish