Directed by: Richard La Gravenese
Starring: Alice Englert, Alden Ehenreich, Jeremy Irons, Viola Davis, Emma Thompson
Sassi’s Star Rating: 3.5/5
Supernatural romance fans after a bit of escapism will enjoy this sweet teen romance with added bite. Beautiful Creatures is Twilight 2.0, just with witches instead of vampires and better production values. Another alum of the YA book series to film series class, Richard La Gravenese’s latest foray has a lot to keep you entertained.
Trapped in the middle of small town nowhere USA, Ethan Wate (Alden Ehenreich) dreams of seeing the world. There isn’t much interesting in Gatlin, until Lena (Alice Elglert) turns up, that is. Guarded, intelligent, and fiercely sarcastic the understated beauty steals Ethan’s attention from the get go. But Lena is reluctant to trust Ethan, tormented by her bible-bashing peers because they believe her uncle Macon (Jeremy Irons), the rich town recluse, is a devil-worshipper.
Ethan finds out that the accusations aren’t too far from the truth. Lena is a caster (or witch to the uninitiated) and is waiting for her sixteenth birthday when her true nature will be revealed as innately good or evil. There’s no coming back from whatever nature chooses for her – which kind of sucks if she transforms into an unstable, murderous siren.
All signs point to a hit as the film kicks off to a promising start, but Beautiful Creatures slowly loses itself in its own mythology as the film progresses. A plot that relies on the same fear of female sexuality that dominated 1970’s horror films is a bitter pill for a 2013 audience to swallow, even if the audience is made up primarily of teenage girls. Yet, paranormal fans will be pleased that the story gives you more to work with than just an all-encompassing romance. La Gravenese has created just the right atmosphere for a film that toys with the dark side and thrown in a few scares for good measure.
The film’s saving grace is a fantastic cast. Englert (daughter of The Piano director Jane Campion) is engaging as a leading lady with a sensibility beyond her years and experience. Ehenrech boasts an easy American charm that wins over a new school of young hearts with each toothy grin. You know you’re watching two upcoming stars when you’re more drawn to their performance than to that of Jeremy Irons or Emma Thompson (who excels in crazy as Lena’s evil mother scorned, Sarafine). La Gravenese has written and directed his way threw a slew of romantic classics including P.S I Love You, Paris, Je T’aime and Water for Elephants, and it is obvious that he knows exactly how to get the best out a love story, including the laughs.
If you’re in a post Harry Potter/Twilight/Hunger Games slump then Beautiful Creatures might tickle your fancy with its endearing romance, eerie mood, and supernatural lore. In the very least it’s worth watching to catch the fresh new faces before they become something big!
We’ll be looking out for the sequel! Beautiful Creatures is in cinemas now.
Category: Film & TV