Beautiful Creatures is a fantasy romance film based on the book of the same name. The film stars some well known faces, along with a couple new comers.
The story follows Ethan, a teenager growing up in a small southern state called Gatlin. He dreams of moving as far away as he can, but lately he has also been dreaming about a girl. Always the same girl, a girl he has never met, but he has fallen in love with her. When suddenly the town shut-in’s niece moves to town, Ethan discoveries his dream girl. Lena Duchannes is not like other girls. Her family are known as Casters, people with powers who are claimed either for the Light or the Dark. The woman of the Duchanne family are under a curse, and whether they are Light or Dark is no longer their choice, it is their fate.
The film stars familiar faces such as Jeremy Irons as Macon Ravenwood, Lena’s uncle. I pictured Macon being an older attractive man despite the grey hair, however Jeremy Irons voice makes a good Macon Ravenwood. Emma Thompson is our villain in Beautiful Creatures. She plays two characters in the film, both equally evil depending on how you would like to look at it. I think she is a great actress, although I would not judge her based on this film. Eileen Atkins plays Lena’s Grandma, she is such a cute old british lady. Emmy Rossum plays the dark caster cousin, basically the vixin of the film. She plays her character well and outshines some of the other duller actors/actresses. Following behind are our new comers. The main character of Ethan Wate is played by Alden Ehrenreich. Ehrenreich isn’t the stereotypical heartthrob which I think is what the film was going for. I think they wanted their romantic couple to look more like the average couple. I would be open to seeing him in some other films. Our Lena Duchannes is played by Alice Englert, an equally average girl. I would have to see her in some other films as well, as over all she was just alright in this film. Lastly I would like to mention Viola Davis who plays Amma. Although she has become greatly popular after starring in the film The Help, and I have nothing against her but I did not picture her in this film. The character of Amma I pictured to be older, shorter, one of those snappy grandma’s you wouldn’t want to mess with. In Beautiful Creatures she looks more like the secretary type who doesn’t punish anyone.
That was my attempt at easing myself into the flaws of this film. The film begins phasing out Ethan Wates father. This I could understand as he is mainly locked in his study all day, which is forbidden despite the fact that there are many scenes filmed in the study. They don’t even show so much of a tailcoat end of his father in the film, he is completely a ghost. I have already mention my dislike of the choice for Amma, but as Amma plays such a large role in the film, it is a constant reminder. There is one part in particular I would like to mention in how lame and poorly the film was done. In a scene where Lena finds out that her relationship with Ethan could kill him, Amma consoles her and says “….What are you going to do?” This after repeatedly saying that no one better hurt her boy (Ethan). To be honest I would even feel comfortable substituting that line with a cheesy GASP!. There are many, many, many things that appear in the book that are not even mentioned in the film. I think if they were planning on spending so much time adding these pointless scenes they could have at least spent the time on adding things from the book, relevant or not. There are even scenes they allude to happening, such as the winter formal dance, and simply jump over it with memory loss and sleeping. I’m aware that the book is the first of four books so the film has to end in such a way that they could either continue or end it without picking up the rest of the series. What they did to the story in the film version however was hit and miss. In the end when the character of Ethan calls out Lena’s name “LEEENNNAAAA.” I am reminded of the old story Streetcar Named Desire with “STTTEELLLLAA” (even though I have never seen or read the story.)
I know that there is a lot of hard work that goes in to making a movie, and converting a book into a film is even more difficult when there are so many readers expectations to consider. I’m debating how I would have felt if I had watched the film before reading the books. I would have noticed the obvious differences in the story, but perhaps I would not have disliked the film so much, and maybe even enjoyed the book that much more.
It does not take much to please me when it comes to cheesy fantasy romance movies. Give me a couple heartbreaking lines and a couple magic scenes and I am hooked. Unfortunately this film did not wow me. It didn’t do much for me really. To be honest it upset me and killed any fire that was in me wanting to rush to read the rest of the series. I wouldn’t mind an outside opinion from someone who has not read the book first and saw the film to see if I am judging too harshly.
I’m sorry but I do not recommend that you see this movie. If anything wait until it is out on Netflix.