Ethan (Alden Ehrenreich) longs to escape his small
Southern town. He meets a mysterious new girl, Lena (Alice
Englert). Together, they uncover dark secrets about their
respective families, their history and their town.
Review by Louise Keller:
A girl with magical powers and
a boy whose only power is love are the central focus of this
entertaining, striking film that promises to fill the void left
by the Twilight franchise. With its compelling mix of elements,
Beautiful Creatures is a tale of forbidden love and the battle
between good and evil. It has HIT written all over it and showing
great affinity with the subject matter, director Richard
LaGravenese has adapted the novel by Kami Garcia and Margaret
Stohl to bring a spectacular tale that combines supernatural
elements with an appealing quirkiness and humour. It's fun, funny
in a ham-fisted way and devilishly entertaining, if you'll pardon
When Alice (Lena Duchannes) tells Ethan (Alden
Ehrenreich) that her family is different, she explains their
magical powers are the equivalent to that of another family being
musical or having money. By this stage the windows in the
classroom have already exploded in unexplained circumstances and
Ethan has met Alice's uncle Macon Ravenwood (Jeremy Irons), who
first appears in a full length cream brocade coat and tinkles the
ivories on the grand piano in the otherwise stark entrance foyer
of his incongruous mansion. Irons is perfectly cast, nicely
incorporating a delightful eccentricity.
between Alice and Ethan begins even before they meet - in their
dreams, and we warm to both of them immediately. Ehrenreich is
instantly likeable, while Duchannes exudes vulnerability,
contrary to the powers she is learning to control. (The scene in
which she makes it rain - but only on Ethan - is very funny.)
There is a storm coming and scheduled to hit very soon, on
Alice's 16th birthday, when her nature - be it light or dark -
will be revealed. It seems that the witches (or 'casters' as they
like to be called) do not have control over this part of their
Watch out for the dinner scene, when 'the family'
come to visit for the weekend, and Ridley (scrumptiously played
by Emmy Rossum) spins the table at dizzying speed under the
chandelier, while poor Ethan has been immobilised. I almost
expected an eccentrically dressed Helena Bonham Carter to pop in.
Emma Thompson is a riot as Mrs Lincoln, the pious exemplary
mother with a dark secret and Viola Davis is solid as Amma, whose
role is slowly revealed. The film has a string of revelations
which include secrets as well as a curse, which threatens....
well, that would be telling.
The film looks as wonderful
as the creatures in it, and like Twilight, plays out in fine form
to its tween audience.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Lena (Alice Englert) is 15, new town and different; she comes
with baggage and is immediately an outsider. Only one of her
classmates, Ethan (Alden Ehrenreich) sees her as a fresh new
force, intelligent - and strangely, mysteriously appealing. But
when he pops into her family mansion unannounced but curious, he
has a glimpse into a world far removed from little Gatlin, South
Carolina ... very, very far removed. He meets Lena's uncle
(Jeremy Irons) and realises the whole family is weird. Lina calls
them casters (as in casters of spells, derisorily known as
witches in lower circles).
And soon the story's central
plot point emerges: when Lena reaches her 16th birthday on
December 21, she will be automatically 'claimed' by either the
'light' or the 'dark' forces - as determined by her real nature.
The entire film is spent waiting for that bewitching birthday ...
and how to solve the problem of her loving a mortal - in the
shape of Ethan.
All kinds of family ghosts are exhumed,
many turn up as shape shifting casters, notably Emma Thompson as
Lena's mother from hell. Almost literally. The lovers must find a
way around this ancient rule, break some spells and stare down a
community of narrow minded god-worshipping rednecks.
both leads working well to make teen romancing both fun and a
serious matter, the film is also blessed with the wonderful
talents of Viola Davis, who can emote over a dropped hat. She has
a key role as a 'keeper' - the librarian to not only the folk in
Gatlin (who ban books but don't read them) but also to the
casters whose entire history is shelved behind a large secret
door that guards a vast network of tunnelled rooms under Gatlin
... the whole country, in fact. Irons and Thompson -
nothwithstanding their British acting gravitas - chew the scenery
for their own amusement and turbo charge what is meant to be
The visual effects are often striking
and will keep teens entertained, but the whole scenario is a bit
ridiculous and drawn out. With its Romeo and Juliet genesis,
Beautiful Creatures promises a sweet new mortal & supernatural
romance, but doesn't quite get there. Too much cheese in the
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BEAUTIFUL CREATURES (M)
CAST: Alden Ehrenreich, Alice Englert, Viola Davis, Emma Thompson, Jeremy Irons, Emmy Rossum, Thomas Mann, Eileen Atkins, Margo Martindale
PRODUCER: Broderick Johnson, Andrew A. Kosove, Molly Smith, Erwin Stoff
DIRECTOR: Richard LaGravenese
SCRIPT: Richard LaGravenese (novel by Margaret Stohl & Kami Garcia)
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Philippe Rousselot
EDITOR: David Moritz
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Richard Sherman
RUNNING TIME: 124 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: February 21, 2013