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Beautiful Thing

A movie directed by Hettie Macdonald

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A fine little film with few peers for the genre

  • Jan 30, 2005
  • by
Rating:
+5
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 gay lad who is forced to come to grips with that fact. He falls in love with Ste (Scott Neal) who lives next door to Jamie's flat and is regularly beaten by his father and brother. How these two come together and eventually move into the world more acquainted with their sexuality and its complexities forms the storyline.

The actors are all superb, including Sandra's boyfriend du jour Tony (Ben Daniels) and the hilarious Leah (Tameka Empson). But the performance by Linda Henry is a stand out: she finds the love in this brazen woman and allows it to surface. Likewise Glen Barrie's Jamie is wholly and palpably believeable.

If there is a fault with this film it is in the dialect of this London suburb: turn on the English subtitles so that you can understand what is being said! Grady Harp, January 2005

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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 02, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
" BEAUTIFUL THING"    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 …
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
Grady Harp ()
Ranked #104
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … 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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