It’s the London Sundance Film Festival, Salma Hayek is in town with her new movie “Beatriz at Dinner”. The story revolves around Beatriz, a massage “healer” who works at a cancer centre in Santa Monica. Apparently she also does the ocassional home visit. One such client is Cathy, the wife of a very wealthy businessman Grant. Upon completing her massage, Beatriz cannot start her car, is unable to leave the lavish gated community and is invited to stay for dinner, which is a small “work-do” with Cathy and Grant.
The scene is set for polar opposites to break bread together. The guests are all fantastically wealthy and are celebrating another successful development project which will likely have an environmental impact, but make them lots of money. The king pin is Doug Strutt, something of a small parody of the current thug that is president of the US. A man who bullies his way to wealth and clearly sees amassing more and more as a “game”.
Bubbles that burst?
Naturally, Beatriz is an animal lover, who also happens to be a deeply traumatized individual who is unloved. The scene is set for a frank exchange of views and an expose on the gulf between the have’s and the have not’s, or the bubble of the one percent. However, this is a Hollywood movie, so the subject matter which may have tickled those involved with its prospects, fails to deliver anything of substance other than well-worn caricatures. I might suggest that whilst the idea seemed interesting at the time, perhaps it fails because the story is a gnats wing from life in Beverly Hills.
In the Q&A session, Salma Hayek didn’t help matters either with her ramblings about purity and frankly failing to grasp the pain of character she plays. Perhaps because she is the daughter of hugely wealthy Mexicans and has married a French billionaire, that she has far more in common with Cathy and Grant than she may care to see.
Eyes to See
In reality, it is Grant and Cathy that are more representative of the liberal elite. It is they that are confused about friendship and relationship. Whilst having all of life’s finery, they fail to see their own hypocrisy and ignore the damage done to accumulate. Of course there is a degree to which most of us are like this. It is easier to ignore the exploitation of which we are both benefactors and victims. Indeed the neurosis of buying fairly traded anything is one of many grey lines that we navigate on a daily or weekly basis and with our largely comfortable lives we can afford not to be affronted. Whether that’s the fruit and veg or the “made in somewhere without” of our garments.
Finding Your Number
From time to time, I do wonder if this is what people think a financial planner does – make you rich. Whilst I am obviously not anti-money (I hope that is rather obvious) there is a point, which is called “enough”. Most do not know where this is – as it is undoubtedly a very individual answer. All good financial planners help reveal your “number” what you need to do all that you have affirmed to be your wishes and intentions. Yes with plenty of assumptions, slack for margin of error and disasters. This is a world of difference from Doug Strutt, who by failing to identify what he values, he constantly seeks unfulfilling highs which take him further and further away from a connected life. He takes life as way of finding it. His walls become higher and higher in every sense.
Money has the power to liberate and bring choice, how it is made brings many challenges in our global economy. However we possess choices too – whether to carefully consider at what we want from life or to simply get caught up being the next king of the hill. The uncomfortable truth is that our choices impact others. Yes we all need money but from that assertion springs a lot of questions.
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