Friday, February 22, 2013

Movie Review: Beautiful Creatures

This review is a little late because I wanted to see the movie twice before passing any kind of concrete judgment on it. The truth is, Beautiful Creatures is not very much like the book it is inspired from. It uses the same characters but their roles are very different and the ending is almost completely different. I wanted to give myself some time to really reflect on that and decide what I thought.

And I know that I liked it. A lot.

I don't think the movie is better than the book but I don't think the book is better than the movie either. Some of the things they omitted from the movie I missed but I thought the editing they did to the plot really worked to the movies advantage and the acting was stellar.

I know that a lot of times people hope they cast unknowns in the lead roles but I'm not one of those. I'd prefer to see established actors in the roles of the character's I love. But Alden Ehrenreich (Ethan Wate) and Alice Englert (Lena Duchannes rhymes with rain) proved me wrong and now I'm a believer. Seriously, these actors were oozing chemistry and delivered lines that would have been cheesy from any other mouth but were believable from them.

I thought that Ehrenreich was particularly skilled at saying things like "I've been dreaming of you for months" and "no matter what they do, no matter what they do to me, I'm still here" with such passion and emotion and charm you couldn't help but believe it. He was skilled at the awkward with his funny little laugh and with shock and with passion. I kept being blown away with the way he delivered line after line like he believed it himself. It's something I haven't seen in a long time and something I really appreciated. I also thought his Southern accent was spot on. I first I was pretty sure I was going to get annoyed but a few minutes into the movie and I didn't even notice it. Felt completely natural.

Alice Englert (Lena) had an even harder time with me. See, I wasn't crazy about book Lena. I liked her okay but I didn't understand her motivations and she ended up confusing me even more than she confused Ethan. But Englert made me love Lena. She was charming and sweetly awkward and fiercely strong all at the flip of a switch. Particularly the times when she was fighting her dark nature. They could have been really bad but she kept it in check with just an edge of insanity. Just a glimmer. And it worked so well. Again, I believed in her. Because I did, it allowed me to believe in them together. I was right there with them when they were fighting, when they were talking and when they were just hanging out.

What made me believe in this movie before I saw it was the cast of established actors they had to back up the newbies. You've got Viola Davis who I'll love in pretty much any role who does a great job of being both Amma and Marian, Jeremy Irons was just creepy enough to portray Macon, Emmy Rossum was a wonderfully bad (in an oh-so-good way) Ridley and Emma Thompson was downright delicious as Ms. Lincoln/Sarafine.

The scenery was just...oh, I could look at the scenery they created forever and ever. Seriously, the outside of the Ravenwood mansion was the perfect haunted house, the echo of the book covers in the wrought iron gate, the grandeur and clean lines of the inside of the Ravenwood mansion that was every changing with the season were all just perfect. All this coupled with the lazy spanish moss clinging to the trees, the bright green forest wrapping around the little town and the old houses. As it was in the book, Gaitlin was thoroughly and wonderfully represented on the big screen.

So now onto the thing that changed the most... the plot. There I sat in the theater, fresh off the novel, thinking I knew everything in the world that was going to happen. And then I was surprised over and over as things were changed. Anyone that read my review of the book knows I had some problems with the length and in turn, some of the plotting. I felt the book was a little convoluted and I'm still not completely sure what happened at the end. The movie did a wonderful job of streamlining and simplifying the plot. It was a lot clearer and a lot easier to understand in my opinion. I won't go into the exact changes but I will say that everything fit together better for me and the character's role were a little clearer. The one thing I really wish they would have added into the movie from the book is Lena and Ethan's ability to communicate telepathically with each other. It would have made the final scene make a lot more sense.

Over all, I think this was a well written, well cast and very well acted movie that stayed true to the spirit of the book. For me, that's really all you can ask for. If you haven't seen it, I'd suggest going and if you have, I'd love to hear what you thought about it.


  1. I haven't seen it yet so I'm hoping I won't rage over the things that have changed. I think the thing I'm annoyed with at the moment is how they're combined Amma and Marian into one character... Maybe I will love it when I see it though haha. Glad you liked the movie

  2. Really loved this one! But I agree... the movie was not better than the book and the book was not better than the movie. They were equally good in their own rights. I also LOVED Alden Ehrenreich! He was so perfectly wonderful. Definitely a good choice for Ethan and looking forward to more from him!

  3. I'm glad I was 2 years removed from reading the book. But I agree it was well done.

  4. This is such a great movie to watch. But, I would say that I love the book more. :)


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