I finally got around to watching Beautiful Creatures. My wish is that I had a time machine so I could tell myself to skip the latest Die Hard this Valentine’s Day and watch this enjoyable film instead. The trailer for this film does not do it justice at all.
The story revolves around Lena Duchannes (Alice Englert), a girl who is ostracized in her community because everyone thinks she is an evil witch. While it is true that she can cast spells, she has not turned 16 yet which means that her soul has not been claimed for the light or the dark.
And young writer Ethan Wate (Alden Ehrenreich— who absolutely steals the show) sees the good in her and refuses to let any ritualistic expression of witchcraft get in the way of love.
Her Uncle Macon (Jeremy Irons) does not want Lena to be distracted during this fragile time in her life, and he also attempts to protect her against his evil sister and niece Ridley (Emmy Rossum). All the while, upstanding pillar of the community Mrs. Lincoln (Emma Thompson) is not what she seems.
I will say that although Viola Davis adds variety to the movie, her character Amma is probably the most unnecessary piece to this movie. Many of her scenes feel as though they are separate from the action, which provides for an interesting yet unrelated subplot.
While the film falls into the same pre-teen fantasy romance genre as Twilight, the romance is more organic and the movie is easier to identify with.
There is not as much teenage angst or pouty lips to deal with—instead it is easier to see where the attraction comes from, and the movie makes great strides toward crafting a modern folklore. Like Twilight, it is based on a popular book.
Alden Ehrenreich steals the show during this movie. As Ethan Wate, he is hilarious to watch and never lets his performance go for a second. Many of the laughs come from him. Alice Englert doe not fair badly in her role, and she certainly is not as unexpressive as Kristen Stewart. Her Lena is very ill tempered, and is only matched in ferocity by the siren character Ridley.
Emmy Rossum and Emma Thompson both give fun performances that have them playing against type. Rossum is a temptress is the classic Odyssey sense while Thompson plays the religious woman who despises the Duchannes clan.
The cinematography elevates the movie as well, for Philippe Rousselot knows how to use a camera. Formerly Tim Burton’s cinematographer and an Oscar-winner for A River Runs Through It, the fantasy is brought to life with luscious shadows and the Southern atmosphere is brought to life.
This movie is like To Kill a Mockingbird meets Romeo & Juliet, and I truly enjoyed watching a movie about witches that was not sacrilegious—this movie contains more references to Christianity and finding your faith than the average LifeWay DVD does. Very enjoyable, and definitely three out of four stars.
– Curtis Everitt, Contributing Writer