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Title :Beautiful Creatures (2013)
Release : 14 February 2013 (USA)
Director: Richard LaGravenese
Runtime: 2h 4min
Genre :Drama, Fantasy, Romance
Stars : Alice Englert, Viola Davis, Emma Thompson
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Beautiful Creatures (2013) trailer
Beautiful Creatures (2013) review
Move over “Twilight” – “Beautiful Creatures” is ready to take over the teen supernatural genre.
“Beautiful Creatures,” adapted and directed by Academy Award nominee Richard LaGravenese, is not what you’d expect for a film about witches, warlocks and the paranormal. In fact, it’s much better.
The movie, which combines elements of drama with subtle humor, tells the story of Ethan Wate, a teenage boy whose dream is to get out of Gatlin, S.C. Ethan, played by Alden Ehrenreich, falls in love with the mysterious new girl in town, Lena Duchannes, played by Aussie Alice Englert. Lena comes to live with her uncle, the peculiar and enigmatic Macon Ravenwood (Jeremy Irons), who many have heard of but few have seen outside of the old Ravenwood Manor. Ethan soon learns that Lena is a Caster (the film’s term for a witch) and her approaching 16th birthday will decide whether her powers will be claimed for the Light or the Dark.
As Lena’s birthday looms over the horizon, tensions arise between the ambiguous Macon and his evil sister Sarafine, played by Academy Award-winner Emma Thompson, who disguises herself as Gatlin’s ultra-conservative, Bible-toting Mrs. Lincoln. In his quest to help Lena cope and find her place within the Light, Macon also seeks out the aid of Amma (Viola Davis), a seer who is able to communicate with her ancestors for guidance.
As family secrets and stories from the past begin to surface, Lena worries about her powers, her fate and the safety of her relationship with Ethan.
LaGravenese adapted his screenplay for the film from the novel of the same title, the first book in the series written by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.
While the plot may seem like a traditional duel of good versus evil, “Beautiful Creatures” adds the element of our personal choice in the matter and whether an individual can decide his or her own destiny.
This film also shakes up the conventional structure of a teen movie. For starters, Ethan tells the story from his point of view rather than relying on a female character for narration. Ethan and Lena are very much in love, but not in a desperate sense, which is not only refreshing, but also makes them a more relatable couple.
The writing and casting of “Beautiful Creatures” provide a stable and essential foundation that sets this film apart from other supernatural teen movies. LaGravenese does a great job of filling the character’s dialogue with witty banter, snide remarks and a sense of humor that is just enough to balance the film’s scarier magical elements with a dose of comic relief.
As relative newcomers to the Hollywood scene, Ehrenreich and Englert definitely hold their own in their leading roles, but also receive plenty of help from Irons, Thompson and Davis as well as Emmy Rossum, who plays Lena’s wicked yet playful cousin Ridley.
Thompson delivers the most notable performance of all the actors, as she transforms into two characters and seamlessly transitions between the two. Within one scene, she switches from the reactionary language and Southern accent of Mrs. Lincoln to the sinister and downright villainous cackle of the dark Caster Sarafine.
The latter portion of the movie starts to feel a bit long as the loose ends start to come together, but the action soon picks up as final scenes combine visually appealing effects and a heartwarming yet somewhat ambiguous ending.
Although the plot may at times seem reminiscent of other fairy tales or stories of good triumphing over evil, “Beautiful Creatures” serves as a reminder that we make decisions on a daily basis that speak to the elements of light and dark in our own lives. This supernatural story has the potential to make us think about our own “powers,” and how we put them to use.