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Beautiful Thing

A movie directed by Hettie Macdonald

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A Beautiful Movie

  • Jan 2, 2007

A Beautiful Movie

Amos Lassen and Cinema Pride

" Beautiful Thing" (Sony Classical) is a beautiful movie. It is one of those great British dramas that is positive throughout despite the sad and grim environment in which it was filmed. It is true-to-life and a wonderful social commentary on the English working class. An interesting study of self-discovery and teen love, " Beautiful Thing" ranks high on many lists of gay films. The characters and situations are realized fully and each scene is virtually a true picture of the times in which it was made. It is a personal film as it unravels the tale of the coming out of a young teen and that is what makes it so special.
Living in a south-east London housing estate, Jamie is an unpopular guy and avoids school so as to not have to play football. Living nest door to him is Ste, a more popular kid who suffers violence at the hands of his father and brother. The violence brings Jamie and Ste together and as they grow more and more attracted to each other, they begin to fall in love which the end of the film shows with such grace and beauty. The movie looks at the trials and tribulations of coming to terms with sexuality and the fear of others learning about it--Jamie's fear of his mother's knowing and her complete defense and loyalty and Ste's fear of reprisals from his family.
The most beautiful thing about the movie is learning that although gay people are different, we are not bad. Additionally the movie gives a sense of gay pride- - a gay movie with a happy ending is a joy, Jamie as the shy and nerdy unsure lad and Ste as the popular yet insecure, frightened, abused boy show how two different worlds can come together.
There are some wonderful scenes in the film. When the two boys are alone in the woods with nothing but each other and fantastic music, the cares of the world seem to disappear. Likewise the scenes between Jamie, Ste and Jamie's mom are moving and beautifully done.
For a young man coming to terms with who he is, this movie is perfection--it is honest, it is beautifully written and the direction is amazing.
The actors are amazing. I think that most of us can relate to Jamie. He isn't interested in sports and is exceptionally wise. He is comfortable with his sexuality and doesn't care what others may think of him. Ste is the opposite. He is afraid of his brother and his father and his own insecurities and inner demons are always with him. He is ashamed of his sexuality and denies it.
" Beautiful Thing" is a simple movie but it is beautifully satisfying. The way the script dealt with teen homosexuality is literate and smart and every time the movie gets little heavy, a comic relief is provided. The characters are complex but not too complex and there are no perfect ones.
The accents are a bit difficult to understand at first but as the movie progresses they become almost musical. Even though the movie is now fourteen years old it is still timely and unique with a real-to-life feel. It will tug at your heart and you may shed a tear or two but the tears will be tears of joy for having seen such a beautiful film.

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More Beautiful Thing reviews
review by . December 04, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: ...     Cons: ...     The Bottom Line:   "And just one thing...   If you're my queen...   Then it's a beautiful thing..."  ~Sister Hazel         This was a surprisingly well done love story, in fact, it was a Beautiful Thing to behold.  It is centered in London one hot and steamy summer, in a rather small and obscure apartment building.  The actors involved held …
review by . January 30, 2005
BEAUTIFUL THING may be almost ten years old but the simplicity and honesty of the approach of a gay coming-out film is still hard to match. Director Hettie MacDonald has gathered a group of actors so fresh and real that the story seems more like eavesdropping than a movie.    Jamie (Glen Barrie) lives with his mum Sandra (Linda Henry), a blowsy, tacky, loud but heart of gold waitress, in a housing project. Jamie plays soccer and does all the right things - except he is a closeted …
review by . August 10, 2003
There are only a handful of really, truly feel-good gay movies out there at the moment, and this gem of a film from 1996 endures as one of the best of them.A simple story: two boys coming to terms with their sexuality in their teenage years, one more comfortable than the other but both strong and complex in their own ways. Subtle yet fulfilling sub-plots focusing on the neighborhood and families are rare in that they actually fill out the story rather than distract from it.If I had to summarize …
About the reviewer
Amos Lassen ()
Ranked #208
I am an academic who reivews movies and books of interest to the GLBT and Jewish communities.   I came to Arkansas after having been relocated here due to Hurricane Katrina. I was living in … more
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This absolute winner, based on a stage play by Jonathan Harvey and adapted by him, is a kind of enchanted, urban slice-of-life tale about a gay teen, Jamie (Glen Berry), who is in love with the boy next door, Ste (Scott Neal). Hampering Jamie's progress on the romantic front is his fear that his mother (Linda Henry) will find out, as well as concern over complicating Ste's existing problems.Beautiful Thingis a relationship movie, to be sure, but that description doesn't really describe the buoyant tone of this British television production. Democratic in its inclusive regard for each character (whether camera-pretty or not), the film--well-directed by Hettie Macdonald--is full of surprises. Chief among them is the terrific personality of Jamie's mum, a strong and independent woman who truly worries over and adores her son. But this is a movie involved in a kind of happy dialogue with itself: thetunesof Mama Cass, for instance, play a part in both the story and overall ambience, while a strategic placement of the Rodgers and Hammerstein chestnut "Sixteen Going on Seventeen" during an act of love is fun and exciting.--Tom Keogh
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